Pete Lucas, of Northern Nevada CopBlock, says he missed out on National Chalk the Police State Day – because CopBlockers do have jobs (believe it or not) – and wanted to make up for it. Pete mentioned to me via Facebook message that:
After watching Kelly’s most recent video, and since he is Nevada too, I decided it was important to go chalk in Reno. About six months ago or so, a man was gunned down by police here in Reno. He tried to drive off and the cop shot him, reporting that supposedly the man ran over his foot which is why he shot him. I feel like a douche because I did not pursue it but after Dubose I can’t stop thinking about that guy and am gonna look into it; part of the reason I felt it necessary to chalk the PD.
And chalk the police he did.
As seen in the video, Officer Welch approaches Pete from behind a fenced-in area. The Reno police officer starts to question Pete’s actions almost immediately. Eventually, Welch steps outside the fenced-in area while Pete finishes chalking, “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.” At that time Pete tells Welch how the courts have ruled on chalking before, with hopes of discouraging him from making an arrest. When it seems Welch isn’t going to do that Pete asks, “Do you normally stand out here, as part of your post?” And Welch says, “Yeah.” After a short pause Pete says, “Well, yeah, I’ll see you later” and walks away.
Of course Pete doesn’t get very far before Welch makes contact with him across the street. Pete immediately states he’s not answering any questions and asks if he’s being detained. Welch informs him that he is being detained and Pete asks, “For what?” Welch says, in amazement, “For what? For putting graffiti on public property.” As if it’s obvious that using sidewalk chalk on a sidewalk would be a crime. Welch then goes into how it will cost the city money to have someone from public works clean it off. If only Welch were as concerned with how taxpayer dollars are spent when looking at the huge amounts of taxpayer waste within police departments (can anyone say “war on drugs?”).
Welch’s attempts to justify chalking as a crime fail and he randomly asks Pete to place his hands on his head. He tells Pete that he’d “like him to” when asked why. It was a strange interaction and I had no idea what Welch was getting at. Luckily another officer arrives to hear Pete explain that, “it’s chalk and it’s freedom of speech.” The new officer says, “I’m glad you know your rights,” and is finally the officer who answers “no” to the question, “Am I being detained?” Pete does the smart thing, IMO, and takes the out to end his interaction with the police. It seems like a few more officers were on their way out and Welch was probably determined to ticket or cage him over something.
Nevertheless, Pete takes one last shot at the cop who said he’s exempt from using crosswalks, saying, “He’s exempt because he has a shiny badge on his chest! You guys are amazing.” I couldn’t agree more.