Four individuals could spend up to a year behind bars for chalking the sidewalk outside a police station in Nevada, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.
Kelly Wayne Patterson, 44; Brian Ballentine, 31; Hailee Jewell, 18; and Catalino de la Cruz Dazo Jr., 20; face multiple misdemeanours regarding graffiti and defacing public property. They wrote on concrete directly outside Metropolitan Police Department’s headquarters and in front of the Regional Justice Center.
The protestors, speaking out against police brutality and officer-involved shootings in the area, say they were exercising their right to free speech and shouldn’t face any charges. The group calls itself the Sunset Activist Collective, according to the Associated Press. They’re affiliated with Nevada Cop Block.
Lawyer Robert Langford, defending the four, said the same laws could be used to jail children for playing hopscotch, the AP reported. He called the charges preposterous.
But this group definitely wasn’t playing a childhood game. One of the statements they wrote read: “F*** the police.” Again, days before their hearing, the group scrawled profanity on the ground outside the courthouse. This time: “F*** pigs.”
According to the warrant for their arrest, the four protesters were labelled as “ideological taggers,” or those who express their hostility or grievances, often very explicit, in their graffiti, Las Vegas Action News reported.
It could be worse though. One San Diego man faces nearly 13 years in jail for sprawling his colourful opinions about the federal banks system. But his opinions were much cleaner (and they rhymed — “No Thanks, Big Banks” and “Shame on Bank of America,” The New York Daily News reported.
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