Julio Rosas | August 16, 2023
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found the city “all but abandoned enforcement of the defacement ordinance” during the Black Lives Matter protests and riots in 2020 while going after pro-life protesters who used chalk outside an abortion clinic.
The Frederick Douglass Foundation and Students for Life of America filed the lawsuit against the city after two pro-life activists were arrested in 2020. The court agreed Washington, D.C. “selectively” enforced the anti-graffiti ordinance and found numerous examples of BLM vandals getting away with defacing property with anti-police messages:
The District all but abandoned enforcement of the defacement ordinance during the Black Lives Matter protests, creating a de facto categorical exemption for individuals who marked ‘Black Lives Matter’ messages on public and private property. The complaint offers a number of examples. The day after Mayor Bowser’s street mural was revealed, protestors added an equal sign and ‘Defund the Police,’ so the message read ‘Black Lives Matter = Defund the Police.’
Police officers watched as the alteration took place and did nothing to stop it. Although the Black Lives Matter advocates did not seek a permit or otherwise receive consent, they were neither arrested nor charged under the defacement ordinance. In fact, the District left the addition in place for months, eventually removing it in mid-August.
Another example the court cited was when protesters “covered construction scaffolding outside the Chamber of Commerce with graffiti, murals, and photographs. Again the protesters were neither stopped nor arrested for blatant violations of the defacement ordinance.”
Defense Attorney Maria Medvin: In 2020, DC police arrested 2 pro-life protesters for chalking “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” but never arrested any BLM protesters for covering streets, sidewalks, and storefronts with paint and chalk. TODAY, after an appeal, the DC Circuit ruled that the pro-life protesters plausibly alleged that DC discriminated on the basis of viewpoint in the selective enforcement of its defacement ordinance (Twitter).
In 2020, DC police arrested 2 pro-life protesters for chalking “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” but never arrested any BLM protesters for covering streets, sidewalks, and storefronts with paint and chalk.
🚨 TODAY, after an appeal, the DC Circuit ruled that the pro-life protesters… pic.twitter.com/rhgkuzKCQf
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) August 15, 2023
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