Attorney Warns Selah to Stop Erasing BLM Chalk Art in City
Don't erase Black Lives Matter chalk art on the streets of Selah. That's the warning a Seattle attorney has sent to the city of Selah after city officials erased Black Lives Matter chalk art in front of a home and other areas of the city. The letter is from attorney Joseph Cutler and it was sent to the Selah Police Chief on Monday saying the art is a First Amendment right to free expression. Police warned the chalk art was illegal graffiti. Cutler contends city officials have erased numerous Black Lives Matter chalk art around the city. He's urging the city to "do better" in the future and respect the rights of people who express themselves through chalk art.
The letter to Police Chief Richard Hayes ends by saying
"it is not the “graffiti” that needs to stop, it is the City’ s profiling of Selah’ s activists and violation of their constitutional rights that must stop. We understand that members of the Selah community intend to continue to create chalk art and expect to be left alone. We’ll be watching closely and stand ready to make sure that they are."
Selah responded through a letter by the Selah City attorney D.R. Rob Case;
"I respectfully ask that you forewarn your clients about the applicable Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree statute, so that they do not continue to believe that the anti-graffiti code section is supposedly the only part of the law that matters.
The City will consider this matter closed so long as your clients do not again create unauthorized graffiti on public property. The City does desire to prosecute anyone over this. In calmer times, I likely would have just telephoned you and discussed this matter personally and informally. But your letter was sent to the press by someone and it is already further inflaming tensions in our community, in part due to the myriad misstatements that it contains. Thus, I felt the need to respond formally via this letter and to send a copy of this letter to the press, so that the record is set straight."