At the beginning of the week local media in the RVA ran a story about a woman being ticketed down by Belle Island on the James River, because her 4yr old daughter was chalking on a rock just 10 feet from the water. Su Mortenson and her 4yr old daughter Ava were deemed criminals by an officer, Stacy Rogers of the Richmond Police Department because Ava was chalking on a Rock 10ft from the waters of the James River on Belle Isle. The ticket, if found guilty, amounted to more than $300. The story caused a lot of local outrage and Meg McLain, a contributor of Virginia Cop Block, took it upon herself to organize a protest on behalf of the “criminals” in front of the main Police Station at 200 West Grace Street in Richmond.
The idea, to “Chalk the Police” came from a previous “Chalk the Police” protest in New Hampshire that was covered by Cop Block as well – which resulted in EIGHT arrests. Meg McLain was quoted saying, “It seems like the activism I have been doing lately revolves around children’s activities” speaking about her arrest for selling lemonade, at a lemonade stand in Washington D.C
When we arrived to the RPD building, we formed up in a parking lot across the street. A Captain with the RPD came over and introduced herself (which you’ll see in the video posted later tonight or tomorrow) and explained that they were going to have some officers floating around outside to insure our safety. She went on to say some stuff that implied there would be no arrests or tickets given. She also said something that implied they were going to clean it up. So half way through the chalking event, I asked that Captain why the department felt compelled to clean up afterwards, when it is supposed to rain later that afternoon/ evening. She said she never said that they were going to clean it up, just that, they “would take care of it”.
So I told her my opinion and said I didn’t think tax payer money should be used to clean it up ( i got that on video ). The more I thought about it though, If they really wanted to clean it up, I’d rather their time be wasted doing that, then extorting money and caging peaceful people for victimless crimes. Sure enough city workers cleaned it up withing 10 minutes of us leaving, and just MINUTES after that it started raining.
The protest was a complete success! About 25-30 people turned out for it, including about 6 children. Also, all three major news networks in Richmond came out to cover the event as well as a local paper named Style Weekly which did an EXCELLENT job covering the police abusethat happened at the Capitol in Richmond 3-4 weeks back (I HIGHLY recommend checking out their pictures on the FB Page)
Pictures of the event can be found on Virginia Cop Blocks’s Facebook Page —–> HERE!
And a short video summarizing the event will be upload and posted on VA Cop Block’s YouTube Channel later tonight or tomorrow. In the mean time Check out this video asking Gene Lepley former NBC 12 reporter/ anchor, now Public Affairs spokesman for the RPD a few questions.
Virginia Cop Block is always looking for people who are eager to help hold our public servants accountable, especially the Police. If you are interested in doing some activism, getting some literature, some apparel, or being a contributor on the site, get in touch with us!