Tag Archives: chalk block

Las Vegas Police Make It Very Clear They Don’t Understand the First Amendment at Chalk Protest

LVMPD CCDC Chalk Protest

Two Can Play That Game

On September 9th, members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective were doing a chalk protest at the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) in Downtown Las Vegas. Things were pretty quiet and peaceful until a bunch of gang members working for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) showed up to harass and intimidate us, even though we weren’t doing anything illegal or in any way disruptive.

They started out by admitting that we weren’t being detained (and therefore not suspected of a crime), but stated that they would like for us to leave. I politely told them (and wrote, as you can see to the left) that we would like for THEM to leave.

At that point, the sergeant (badge #5906) and several (but not all) of the other officers, did in fact leave. However, as they were (jay)walking away they indicated that they were going to go call some patrol officers because it’s illegal for us to chalk there, which is very much not true.

Shortly after, they returned and began making it very clear that they didn’t understand the First Amendment or that wacky Free Speech thing that it protects. The sergeant stated that he was concerned about the content of the messages we were writing. Then when questioned about what the 1st Amendment says and how that might apply to his concerns, he seemed to genuinely not know and kinda just repeated variations of his concern about what we were writing as if it was a mantra they taught him in the academy.

#BlueLiesMatter

#BlueLiesMatter

He did briefly manage to expand on that once by stating that he was concerned the content of our First Amendment protected speech would incite people to violence against cops, in spite of the fact that nothing we wrote was violent or urging any sort of violence against anyone. It was merely an exercise of our Constitutionally protected right to Free Speech to protest police brutality and murders by cops.

I pointed out that it is all the blatant instances of police murdering people, often on video, that is inciting people, not us telling people about it. He didn’t seemed to be able to grasp the connection and actually stated that all those videos of cops murdering people were “irrelevant.”

That is actually really telling, in regards to the current attitudes and actions of many police officers. Many of them seem to actually believe that manufacturing a fake “War On Cops” and using that as a justification to double down on their own violence is the solution to all of the hatred and even violence that they are beginning to feel from the public. It certainly is one of the reasons that the police in Las Vegas have such little support among the residents here.

Then everyone stood around for over half an hour while they tried to intimidate us and we waited for these patrol officers to show up and harass and/or threaten us. At one point, someone who appeared to be an off-duty cop drove up, parked facing the wrong direction, and had a little chat with them. Afterwards, he did an illegal U-turn and parked the wrong direction (this time also in a fire lane) on the other side of the road, so he could chat with another officer on that sidewalk.

Murder=Paid Vacation (For Cops)

Murder = Paid Vacation (For Cops)

I got kinda bored then, so I started asking some questions. For the record, I never did get an answer on whether there’s a basketball court upstairs in the jail. Nor did they give me a clear answer on whether they still use those old-timely jail house keys or if there’s any correlation between the shade of their uniforms and their rank. I’m still considering whether to file a FOIA request on those, but I probably won’t.

Then they apparently got word from the patrol officers that they were full of shit, we weren’t doing anything illegal, and nobody was going to waste their time coming down to tell them that. So they (jay)walked back over to the jail and went inside.

All in all, the eight or so cops (five jail guards, one officer who appeared to be with the gang unit, an undercover unit, one patrol unit that was parked around the corner, and a Nevada Highway Patrol unit that might have just been passing through) that wasted about an hour on something they should have known was legal in the first place, served as a great example why the LVMPD keeps claiming it needs to extort Las Vegas citizens for even more money to hire additional cops.

(Note: This video is pretty long, so I tried to shorten it as much as possible by literally cutting out any pauses. For the sake of accuracy and transparency, I’ve also embedded the full 36+ minute raw video below. So you can watch the full unedited version, if you are inclined to do so. Mostly what was cut out was about ten minutes of dead air when we were just waiting for the patrol officers they had called to show up.)

Click Banner to learn more about filming the police

Click Banner to learn more about filming the police

Raw Video

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Security Guard With a Criminal Justice Degree; Knows Pretty Much Nothing About the Law

Stupid Security Guard Zappos AcmeRecently, members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective were doing a chalk protest on the sidewalks in front of the Zappos Headquarters in Las Vegas. Although Zappos is a private entity, we often protest against them because they use their money and influence to buy land from the city at huge “discounts.” They also leverage that ability to acquire cheap property to drive long standing businesses out of the downtown area. It’s gentrification and cronyism at its worst. They literally bought city hall and it’s not just a metaphor. They have a tight leash on Mayor Carolyn Goodman and most of the City Council members.

They have pushed for and had passed on their behalf laws and city policies, such as beverage sales restrictions and age based curfews, that target their competition (liquor stores) and give police the opportunity to harass people who might be downtown, but that aren’t frequenting the bars that they own or sponsor. Other ordinances they have used their influence to get passed have also targeted street performers, who they also see as competition for the bars, and homeless people.

Security Guard Bachelors Degree Zappos AcmeAs we were in the process of chalking, one of their security guards (the company they work for directly is “Acme Security”) came out and very aggressively tried to claim we couldn’t write on “their property.” Another security guard showed up shortly after and was also acting very aggressive and was equally confused about basic property laws. A third security guard was there, but stayed more or less in the background.

We informed them that the public sidewalk was not their property. Then the first security guard threatened to call the police and also said that we didn’t have his consent to film, which we don’t actually need when filming in public. After we pointed out that he probably should learn basic law if he’s going to work in security, he stated that he was not “just a stupid security guard” and that he “has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.”

Just a Stupid Security Guard Zappos AcmeEventually, after about ten minutes, two LVMPD officers showed up (two more cars also arrived while they were there, but it was basically over by then) and told him he was wrong and we were not breaking the law by chalking on public sidewalks or filming him in public view. It was actually rather humorous (in light of the security guard’s earlier claims about his education) when one of them remarked to us, after I brought up their lack of understanding of basic property law, that they are “just security guards. What do you expect?” (Then everyone laughed.)

There’s really several morals to this story:

Two years ago, three other people and I were arrested for simply writing on sidewalks with “sidewalk” chalk. In total, five of us faced bogus and ridiculous graffiti charges that could have potentially resulted in four years of jail time. Although we’d been harassed a pretty good amount prior to the arrests and for some time after, at this point whenever the police show up, they generally tell us we are doing nothing wrong and then leave.

Because Fuck You (I'm Batman)

Because Fuck You (I’m Batman)

Part of that is undoubtedly due to the lawsuit we filed over those arrests citing the prior harassment. However, the fact that we were vindicated in our original case made it clear that chalking on public sidewalks is not illegal and that the arrests were nothing but harassment, retaliation and intimidation tactics by the LVMPD against someone who was legally and peacefully protesting against their crimes and total lack of accountability. Metro has no choice, but to avoid making that mistake again and they’ve let their officers know that. That’s why it is important to know and exercise your rights.

Even though private security guards aren’t actually cops, they do, or think they can do, many of the functions that police perform. Therefore, it’s important to ensure they understand the laws and rights of people. Although security guards are more likely to be punished for their crimes, especially use of force crimes (and since they aren’t a product of a coercive monopoly there are options available to ensure they are held accountable, even if their employers aren’t willing to do so of their own volition), it’s just as important to ensure they (or anyone in general) know and are following the law and the Constitution.

And lastly, if you’re going to claim you aren’t “a stupid security guard” because you have a degree in criminal justice, perhaps you should crack open a legal dictionary or attend a real college. That way you might know the basics about property law and the First Amendment, instead of looking like a stupid security guard.

Click for related Know Your Rights videos and content.

Click for related Know Your Rights videos and content.


Watch the full, unedited raw video:

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Game Over for Insert Coins’ and Their Abusive Bouncers (Update)

Game Over Insert CoinsApparently, Downtown Las Vegas bar-hoppers aren’t quite as quick to back abusive bouncers as Chris LaPorte, the owner of Insert Coins, was after a video (embedded below) of a man being beaten out front of his Fremont Street bar became public. Citing “a rapidly changing DTLV business environment” and the tough economy, it was announced July 9th that the previous night would be the last one for Insert Coins.

That was later revised to characterize it as a temporary closing, but don’t hold your breath waiting to play shitty, broken video games and buy overpriced drinks after paying an inflated cover charge in Las Vegas again. What closes in Vegas stays closed.

Insert Coins Protest2As was reported here at CopBlock.org as well as other places, such as PhotographyIsNotACrime.com, on February 12th there was an incident involving bouncers from several “Fremont East” bars. Bouncers from Insert Coin(s) initiated a confrontation by demanding a man move from the public sidewalk in front of their location, even though they had no actual authority to do so. When that man refused three of those bouncers knocked him to the ground and punched and choked him for a full minute after he was already down.

banner-storeWhile that was going on a passerby began recording it with his cellphone. Another bouncer from the Vanguard, which is located next door tried to prevent him from filming the beating. Finally, yet another bouncer from the Griffin crossed the street, grabbed his phone, smashed it on the ground, and then assaulted him, also.

Insert Coins Protest6Even though you can very clearly see the bouncers assaulting the man and not stopping even after he’s down on the ground and defenseless in the video, LaPorte refused to acknowledge they were wrong and even stated that he watched surveillance video of the altercation and that he “backs my guys.” He maintained that stance even after the Griffin actually did the right thing and fired the bouncer that broke the witness’ phone. Instead, LaPorte comically implored everyone to “get the whole story before believing what you see.”

Not surprisingly, some people in the community weren’t so willing to close their eyes during that video and blindly back Chris’ guys. A series of protests organized primarily by Nevada Cop Block and Southern Nevada Watchdogs, a local grassroots organization based in Las Vegas, followed over the next few weeks. Since it was claimed that the “transgression” of the man who was beaten was dancing on the sidewalk in front of their bar, one of the biggest and most publicized of the many held was dubbed the “Dance, Dance Revolution.”  That and others, including numerous impromptu protests involved the use of chalk messages and showing potential customers the video as they approached the entrance to Insert Coins to draw attention to the bouncers’ actions.

Hmmm…”financial challenges this year that [Insert Coins] cannot sustain”.

If they were more specific, they would say that their security guard brutally beat a homeless man for no reason and the public stopped going there (after weeks of protests).

Facebook post by Stephen Stubbs on Thursday, July 9, 2015

Insert Coins We Can DanceThe economy is still kinda crappy in Vegas and the bloom is just about completely off the Zappos rose in “the #DTLV.” So, I don’t really doubt those factors also played a part in Insert Coins getting unplugged. But you know what doesn’t help that when you’re a customer service based business? A giant PR disaster that’s so badly handled it turns into a month long public denouncement of your business. Even an eleventh hour attempt to donate to a group that gives food to local homeless people wasn’t enough to make that stink go away.

Insert Coins ChalkedI’m sure those bouncers were glad Chris LaPorte backs “his guys,” even when they violently attack people on video after one of them started a fight with that person (for no good reason). The rest of the former Insert Coins employees might not be so glad that they are all out looking for a job (during that crappy Vegas economy) because of the actions of three individuals, who were pretty clearly wrong regardless of what angle you watch them beat and choke a guy laying on the ground for over a full minute from.

It’s also a bit of an example of what might happen in response to all the police brutality and lack of any accountability at all, if a government mandated monopoly on police services didn’t remove any options people have for law enforcement and protection outside of the one committing all those beatings and murders then covering up for it.

**Disclaimer** This example of a very successful result to a chalk protest was not intentionally timed to promote the annual “Chalk the Police State” Day protests scheduled for July 18th. The fact that the closing of Insert Coins was announced the same day as the post for Chalk the Police State Day 2015 was published is pure coincidence (or was it).**

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Join Us For the 2nd Annual “Chalk the Police State” – July 18th

A year later, not much has changed.

A year later, not much has changed.

Background

Every day brings with it more and more examples of the increasing militarization of the police and encroachment of the police state onto everyone’s lives. At the same time, accountability for police abuses and governmental crimes is becoming harder to find. This month on the 18th of July, the one year anniversary of the original “Chalk the Police State” event, members of Nevada Cop Block invite everyone nationwide to send a message that we won’t accept this within our communities and demand that accountability.

One year ago on July 18, 2013, three members of the Sunset Activist Collective, who were at that time being threatened with citations claiming that drawing on a sidewalk with washable sidewalk chalk constitutes graffiti, called for a nationwide solidarity rally on the day that was supposed to be our court date. While the city of Las Vegas had enough common sense not to even file those charges, this event (along with a previous “Second Saturday” chalk protest) ultimately led to the arrest of three members of the NVCopBlock and the filing of ridiculous charges of writing graffiti (with chalk marketed, sold, and primarily used to write on sidewalks) and “conspiring” to write graffiti against another two members (AKA the “Sunset 5”) by Steve Wolfson, the county district attorney.

*Note, if you’ve been following along at home, you may have noticed the number of people involved has changed from the original “Sunset 3” to the current “Sunset 5.” The “Sunset 3” consisted of the original three individuals that were cited in June of 2013. After the arrests the “Sunset 4” was used because one of the arrestees was a minor at the time. The “Sunset 5” consists of the three original members and two additional members that were charged after July 18th’s action last year.*

Of course, those ridiculous charges, which amounted to nothing more than a vindictive attempt to intimidate people who were bringing attention to the murderous record of Las Vegas area police and nonexistent history of accountability for those crimes, were dropped shortly afterwards. In the process, the actions of the bullies within the LVMPD, who had pushed for the charges, backfired in a big way. Realistically, all they accomplished was to draw way more attention to the issues of police brutality we were protesting than those protests had ever actually done. The ridiculously inflated clean up costs that they used to justify those arrests also shined a huge spotlight on the wasteful and unnecessary spending habits of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department at a time when they were in the process of begging Las Vegas area residents for more money by way of a county sales tax increase.

A Year Later, What’s Different? (Spoiler: Not Much)

This Offer Still Stands

This Offer Still Stands

In spite of those original charges being dropped amid a pretty large uproar, those very real and important issues that we were protesting in the first place remain. The police brutality and outright murders continue and the complete lack of accountability for such have not disappeared or even, on any discernible level, been addressed. If anything, in fact, they’ve only gotten worse.

Over the course of just the last year, there have been numerous egregious examples of misconduct and abuse by Las Vegas area police. In one instance, Sheriff Gillespie refused the recommendation of the department’s use of force board to fire Officer Jacquar Roston, who shot Lawrence Gordon after he mistook his hat for a gun, which would have actually been the first time any LVMPD officer was fired for shooting someone in the entire history of the department. Similarly, Officer Jason Evans shot Antoine Hodges inside a local 7-11 store, in spite of the fact that he was unarmed and backing away from him at the time, after mistaking him for a wanted suspect. In yet another instance, a man attempting to flag passersby down and asking for water was accosted and then eventually killed by BLM agents and a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper after concerned cyclists reported that D’Andre Berghardt Jr. may have been in need of assistance.

The most blatant and telling example of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s absolute refusal to institute any sort of accountability involves Jesus Arevalo, who murdered disabled Gulf War vet Stanley Gibson as he sat unarmed within his car, that had been immobilized by police vehicles. Even though Arevalo was technically the first person to be fired (or in any other way held accountable) for killing someone on duty, regardless of whether the person killed was unarmed and/or completely innocent, he was actually rewarded for his deadly actions that day with a lifetime of disability payments totaling $30,000 a year, based on the stress he felt because people began calling him a murderer after he murdered an innocent, unarmed person (shortly after stating that he wanted to kill someone in order to get payed time off).

It couldn’t be much more obvious that the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police have no real (or even feigned) interest in holding any of their trigger happy gang members accountable for there actions, no matter how questionable or downright blatant those actions might be.

 Join Us – Wherever You Are

Chalk the Police State Wherever you Are.

Chalk the Police State Wherever You Are.

As a result of all those things already mentioned and so much more that there’s hardly room to list it all, Nevada Cop Block will be holding a second annual “Chalk the Police State” celebration (which was actually inspired by Cop Block’s original “Chalk the Police Day” and so technically could be considered a fourth annual event.) at the Regional Injustice Center in Las Vegas. However, since police brutality and the absence of accountability isn’t something that’s limited to Las Vegas, we’re calling for groups (and individuals) across the country to join us in a little summer time arts and crafts display.

Ideally, we would prefer if you chose somewhere symbolic of the police state, such as a courthouse, local government building such as a city hall, or police station to chalk some messages. However, it’s obviously up to you to choose the most appropriate place to do so in your own city. Please join us and help seek justice in a peaceful, public manner against those who have made injustice a part of their job description and have some fun at the same time.

One of the many advantages of chalk protests and reasons we found them to be effective is that they are fairly easy to organize and carry out. Contrary to the claims made for the silly charges from last year, it takes very little “conspiring” to set up such actions. Also, because those participating can each draw multiple messages without too much difficulty, a relatively small group can create a large impact within a small amount of time. Basically, all you need is a few boxes of chalk, some dedicated friends, and a desire to seek accountability for local officials and their hired goons.

Confirmed Cities Thus Far

Las Vegas Flyer for the 2nd Annual "Chalk the Police State" event.

Las Vegas Flyer for the 2nd Annual “Chalk the Police State” event.

Currently we have six cities that have already confirmed that they will be participating. As many as six other cities may also be chalking that day, but we don’t have solid confirmations from them yet. The cities that definitely will be “Chalking the Police State” on July 18th are listed below, along with contact information for people in those cities to use in order to coordinate with them:

Las Vegas, NV.

Members of Nevada Cop Block will, of course, be chalking that day. No amount of retaliation or intimidation will be stopping us from seeking accountability from the LVMPD. We’ll be going back to the Regional Injustice Center, the original location of the inaugural Chalk the Police State Day.

Olympia, WA.

Seattle, WA.

Kansas City, KS.

Hosted by KCK Cop Block

Kansas City, MO.

The "Chalk the Police State" Flyer for Olympia, Wa.

The “Chalk the Police State” Flyer for Olympia, Wa.

Hosted by MO/KS Cop Block

Portland, OR.

Specific schedule/location info is pending.

Poughkeepsie, NY.

Specific schedule/location info is pending.

Celebrate “Chalk the Police State” Day in Your City

It's tragic when anyone is murdered, even if it isn't one of the rare occasions when that person is a cop.

It’s tragic when anyone is murdered, even if it isn’t one of the rare occasions when that person is a cop.

We hope that other cities will join us July 18th to make a statement about police brutality and demand accountability when police victimize people in their communities. Police corruption and misconduct is a nation-wide (international actually) problem and it’s only getting worse as time goes by. In addition, in spite the prevailing (and false) rationalizations for that increase in violence against citizens, police work is safer than it has ever been and is becoming safer all the time.

The mistreatment and abuse of you and your neighbors is inexcusable and needs to be stopped. Their record speaks for itself, though. They won’t regulate themselves or even hold the criminals in their midst accountable, after the fact. You need to take a stand and demand an end to the police state and its abuses before it’s too late.

A FaceBook event page has been set up to coordinate all of the different cities planning actions. If you have questions about setting up a chalk protest in your city, potential statements/slogans to write, questions of legality (it’s completely legal), etc. you can post them there. We would also like to have any local event pages link to that page, so we can keep track of who will be participating and allow people in those cities to coordinate with each other. That event page is located here: (National) Second Annual Chalk the Police State with the “Sunset 5” and in Solidarity with the Victims of Police Brutality, Repression, and Murder. Alternatively, you can also contact NVCopBlock.org’s contact page, if you are not on Facebook or just want to cutout the middle man.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments' Pathetic History of "Accountability"

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments’ Pathetic History of “Accountability”

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