Pro-life groups sue DC for arresting students chalking on public sidewalks, allowing BLM chalking

Nov 19, 2020

Pro-life groups sue DC for arresting students chalking on public sidewalks, allowing BLM chalking

On Wednesday, Students for Life of America and the Frederick Douglass Foundation filed a lawsuit in federal court after the city of Washington, D.C., refused to grant permission for the two groups to paint a pro-life message on a city street shortly after allowing the painting of Black Lives Matters messages on a different street.
In August, Students for Life of America applied for a permit and received permission to hold a pro-life rally, but neither group received formal permission from the city regarding the temporary mural painting. Prior to the event, a Metropolitan Police Department officer gave verbal permission for the students to paint a message outside of a Planned Parenthood site in temporary sidewalk chalk.

Given that permission, the two groups met on August 1st at the location, but were met with opposition from several law enforcement officers who informed the group that if they used even washable sidewalk chalk on either the street or the public sidewalk they would be arrested. Despite this warning, two students began to chalk “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” on the public sidewalk and were immediately arrested.

“The city shouldn’t be able to silence and punish us for expressing ideas that it doesn’t agree with,” said Frederick Douglass Foundation Virginia Chapter President J.R. Gurley. “Government officials can’t discriminate against peaceful displays on the basis of our beliefs about abortion when they have allowed other groups the same avenues to express their beliefs.”
Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom filed the lawsuit which says, “While such laws are intended to prohibit criminal activity, they may not be used as a tool to silence disfavored speech,” the suit says. “But this is precisely what the District and the Defendants have done.”

News Sources:

Pro-life groups sue DC for censoring, arresting students chalking on public sidewalks

Lawsuit Filed After Unjust arrest of Pro-Lifers in Washington D.C. 
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