CopBlock Network Contributor Brian Sumner Heads to Trial For Chalking Police Memorial

Brian Sumber
Brian Sumner

UPDATE: Today, July 27th, 2015, Brian was found guilty of misdemeanor vandalism and will be sentenced this upcoming Thursday. He faces up to a year in a cage and a $1,000 fine.

Brian Sumner is a CopBlock Network Contributor, as well as an active participant of Fresno CopBlock and the People’s Media, who’s about to go on trial for misdemeanor vandalism in Fresno County Superior Court today (9 am West Coast time). This charge stems from an incident last June, five days after Fresno police shot Miguel Moreno Torres, when Sumner decided to send a message to the Fresno Police Department that such actions are not acceptable. No, he didn’t’ write them a letter, nor did he send an email, instead he took children’s chalk and wrote messages on the Fresno Police Memorial (see picture above). The charge of misdemeanor vandalism can land Brian, at the expense of Fresno taxpayers, in jail for one year and with a $1,000 fine.

Yet, like many of us that are about to participate in the Third Annual Chalk the Police State Day already know, chalking public property isn’t vandalism because chalk does NOT damage property. As much as police like to claim that it does, or could (see the Dodge County Sheriff’s in this video claim it might create damage after it washes off, LOL), the simple truth is that it doesn’t. Kids eat this crap all the time and if it doesn’t hurt a person I doubt it’s going to phase concrete.

Still, here I am blogging about another person who’s been charged with a crime, headed to trial and possibly to jail and for what? Butthurt, that’s what. The Fresno police are just sensitive. They got their feelings hurt when Brian took his message to their police memorial. Sadly, the police needed the taxpayers of Fresno to pay for their little memorial, which means, it’s public property and you’re supposed to be able to have freedom of speech on public property. I guess someone forgot to tell the Fresno police this, or they simply didn’t care.

Fresno Police aren’t the first police department to get butt hurt over chalk on their buildings. In 2010 myself and many others chalked the Manchester Police Department and it was going very well. Nearly the entire sidewalk and building were covered in chalk, it wasn’t until the Fallen Police Memorial was chalked that police started to arrest anyone they could get their hands on. This lead to the arrest of eight people and similar charges that Brian faces tomorrow. I was found guilty and served 60 days in jail for my chalking offense, but there was more to my story than just the chalking. I was also being targeted by the City for another case at the time I was sent to jail – you can read more about that here.

The point is that the courts have ruled that chalking is protected speech but not for CopBlockers, who are regularly fined and/or jailed. As mentioned before, I’ve been to jail for chalking so has Kelly Patterson, NVCopBlock.org Founder, several of us in New Hampshire and more. Yet, below are three stories where the police or taxpayers were punished for their wrongful chalking arrest.

Judge: Police Violated Chalk Protestor’s First Amendment Rights

Chalk Protestor’s Have First Amendment Right

$196,000 Settlement for Chalking Protest

Let’s try to give Brian some support today and end the chain of CopBlockers who go to jail for freedom of speech. He’s declined any plea deals and is headed for a trial today. If you’re in the Fresno area, consider joining him at the Fresno County Superior Courthouse (1100 Van Ness Ave) at 9 am. You can also make a call to Lisa Smittcamp, the prosecutor wasting your tax dollars in this case, at (559) 600-3141. Remind her of the 1st amendment, that chalk doesn’t damage property or that if cops would stop caging, extorting and killing people then maybe  folks wouldn’t send them messages on their lame ass memorials (they can’t even pay for themselves).

If you’d like to stretch your chalking legs check out some of the upcoming events across the country this Saturday, July 18th, by clicking here. Below are a few videos of CopBlockers chalking the police.

Chalk the Police State Promo:

Brian Chalks the Police:

Manchester Chalking 8 Arrest:

Chalking the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department:

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Ademo Freeman

was born and raised in Wisconsin, traveled the country in a RV dubbed “MARV” and is an advocate of a voluntary society, where force is replaced with voluntary interactions. He’s partaken in projects such as, Motorhome Diaries, Liberty on Tour, Free Keene, Free Talk Live and is the Founder of CopBlock.org.
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  • Common Sense

    The sidewalk is one thing, a memorial is another.
    This is why you can’t have nice things.

  • mobooz

    If the chalk is so easy to clean up, why didn’t Brian just clean up after himself? You know, like an adult.

  • JC

    Damn Ademo, you are really off the deep end. He vandalized a police memorial. He needs to go to jail. I read an article about a civil war memorial that was chalked up so much the city of Keene had to hire someone to clean and fix the damage. How about the Keene gazebo? That to was damaged and the people of SFK repainted it. So yes, chalk does damage.

  • chadehrnriter

    JC trolling again eh JC….dont have cop dick to vacuum?

  • t

    Ah. Another example of the “only my rights matter” Poriach if the CBer.

  • please read

    Anyone interested in chalking should read the following link:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/05/11/sidewalk-chalking-and-the-law/

    Click all the internal links and learn.

    This is probably something that will eventually require SCOTUS because police and cities just don’t understand.

  • Huh?

    No police department that arrests or tickets for chalking should ever chalk tires for parking checks. That is not their property and clearly they believe chalk is damaging.

    Or is this another “only cops rights matter?” Or do cops have access to special chalk. LOL

  • DEO moob

    DEO, please, please, cover up. Nobody wants to see your hairy side boob – man boob. Also known as side moob. It looks like there’s at least a B cup going on there. I can just imagine how those things must be swaying and jiggling when you’re bent over and chalking your words of wisdom. Cover up, that’s just plain disgusting.

  • DEO moob

    DE(.)(.)

  • Marking Hands

    Last year in Michigan after that girl got killed in Armada they were stopping cars, questioning people and marking their hands with a marker. And they want to complain about chalk on sidewalks but think it is okay to use chalk on tires or markers on hands?

  • Common Sense

    Nice +2

  • .

    If you want nice things pay for them out of your own pocket and don’t put them in a plubic place..

  • JCcryssemen

    I’d like to see you go off the deep end in cement shoes

  • DeadPigGoodPig

    These pigs in Fresno need to have so much chalk shoved in their eyes that their brain start to squish out their ears. The only good pig is a dead pig that has had his head chopped off slowly while he is alive. But not before setting their family on fire in front of them.

  • DeadPigGoodPig

    Trust me, he will be made to.

  • DeadPigGoodPig

    Hopefully somebody sets all these pigs on fire, but not before skinning their family in front of them first. The only good pig is one that has been smothered in styrofoam and gasoline, then set alight.

  • RAD

    Whose “rights” do you “feel” were affected?

  • t

    RAD:
    Every citizen that wanted to view that monument that had to read his filth.

    See how that works?
    No. I’m sure you don’t

  • t

    Funny thing. Local elected officials approved to spend those funds.

    If you don’t like that…run for local office yourself.
    Band together and out up a canidste. Bet you end up just like the “free staters” in Keene that everyone hates…even the local college kids.

  • Douglas Kostel Jr.

    They could still read it couldn’t they? So again, how were their rights affected? See how common sense works? No. I’m sure you don’t.

  • Wrong

    That arguement doesn’t work and courts have already said so.
    I can spout crap, wave banners, and write on sidewalks at a military funeral or in front of an abortion clinic and it doesn’t matter if you have to walk past it to get there.

    Freedom of speech is not freedom from everyone else speaking what you don’t want to hear or read.

    Try again

  • Interesting

    Interesting, how do you know what every one hates in Keene?

    Me thinks you just outed yourself there.

  • Interesting

    Btw public memorials are just that – public.

    The police, elected officials, free staters don’t have lone possession. We all own it.

  • tz1

    Pour a bunch of stinky, colored crap on your nearest copblocker – it isn’t vandalism if it washes off.

  • Nope

    No, but it is assault and battery. Let’s focus on the actual legal definitions of laws rather than twisting them to suit whatever purpose.

  • Common Sense

    Ha ha ha…

  • mobooz

    Jail’s too much, 20 hours’ community service ought to do it.

  • tz1

    OK, not on the copblocker, but his property – much as chalking a monument instead of a public sidewalk.

  • RAD

    His “filth”?
    “Badges don’t grant extra rights”
    He blasphemed the sacred magic jewelry and offended the religious sensibilities of the cop cult at their sacred site of worship. I get it. It was kind of a crass way to make a statement. Trying to figure out exactly whose “rights” are being impacted though. “Every citizen”? What “right” is implicated? Their right to religious freedom (to worship the cop cult)?

  • Common Sense

    He can spend 20 hrs cleaning graffiti.

  • mobooz

    Sounds like justice to me.

  • mobooz

    Yeah, because nobody outside of Keene has ever heard of FreeKeene before.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87SOcULQGCE

  • RAD

    ““It was beyond disrespectful. It was beyond disgraceful,” Fresno police officer David Ponek told the jury. “It was like vandalizing a church.””

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/crime/article27527632.html#storylink=cpy.

  • chris968

    It’s not like he tagged it with spray paint… guess what folks, a little bit of water and it washes right off! A year in jail for that? Give me a break.

  • chris968

    Do you know what the concept of “rights” even mean? I’m pretty sure you don’t.

  • chris968

    Chalk + Water = No more chalk. Look at you using big words like vandalized. When it washes off with the hose, it’s not been vandalized.

  • Origanalist

    So do it then. Do you need someone else to do things for you?

  • Gimpin

    I’m all for keeping the police in line and making sure they do their job, not harass an innocent anybody because of a badge. But, even with chalk, I see why they got butthurt about the memorial. That’s to commemorate the men and women who died on the job, and who probably weren’t complete assholes, that put their lives on the line to possibly keep meth out of your neighborhood. So, I say we need to keep both points in mind. How about if someone thought your dead mom was a bitch and chalked on her tombstone, wouldn’t feel great, would it?

  • Bob Blaylock

      I just don’t see how it is OK for anyone to deface property that isn’t his own with graffiti; even if it is in a form that is relatively easy to clean off, and even if some foolish judge previously ruled that such behavior is “legal”.  I have no problem with this cretin being held accountable for this behavior.  Would Mr. Sumner be OK with people using chalk to write disparaging things about him and his family on his house?

  • Michael J. Motta

    I bet a lot more people wanted to check it out AFTER it was chalked than ever cared to read it beforehand. It was free publicity.

  • Michael J. Motta

    Umm . . . the chalked area isn’t (unlike a family home) private property — it’s public, so it’s just as much owned by graffiti artists as it is by cops.

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