Warner DePriest and Kristan Hawkins speak out against arrests for writing ‘Black Pre-born Lives Matter’ on the sidewalk.
Washington, D.C. police violated the First Amendment when officers arrested two anti-abortion activists who were writing “Black Preborn Lives Matter” outside of a Planned Parenthood location, one of the activists told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday.
“This is a violation of our First Amendment right,” said Warner DePriest, an employee of Students for Life of America (SFLA). “This is viewpoint discrimination.”
Video footage shows police warning DePriest and SFLA student leader Erica Caporaletti that they would be arrested if they continued using sidewalk chalk outside of the Planned Parenthood Carol Whitehill Moses Center in northeast D.C.
SFLA claims D.C. police granted them a permit to paint on the street, as well as verbal notice that they wouldn’t be prevented from painting on the street. The organization added that authorities specifically requested they use temporary paint.
DePriest maintains, however, that when he arrived at the center at 5 a.m. Saturday, police said he couldn’t paint “Black Preborn Lives Matter” on the street.
D.C. police did not immediately responded to Fox News’ request for comment.
Several U.S. cities, including Washington D.C., have added officially commissioned graffiti and murals to their streetscape in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, with Mayor Muriel Bowser going so far as to rechristen a two-block section of 16th Street NW “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
“The city appears to be covered in political graffiti, racial slurs, obscenities, spray paint –indelible — on our public buildings,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said. “This was chalk, this was colored dust. Am I missing something?”
“You’re not missing anything and that’s what’s so ironic about this situation,” SFLA President Kristan Hawkins replied.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Warner and Erica and the student leaders but more simultaneously afraid [for] our rights because this was clear what was happening was viewpoint discrimination,” Hawkins said. “We have a mayor here in Washington, D.C., that painted the streets ‘Black Lives Matter,’ that allowed activists associated with the Black Lives Matter organization to then go without the permit and [in] permanent paint, paint ‘Defund the Police,'” Hawkins added.
SFLA is currently pursuing legal action. As Hawkins noted, activists painted “Defund the Police” in front of the “Black Lives Matter” slogan, so that it reportedly read: “Black Lives Matter = Defund the Police.”
According to NPR, the city’s Department of Public Works was later seen refreshing some of the paint but left “defund the police” on the street.
“Well it’s not a part of the mural,” Bowser told ABC News in June. “And we certainly encourage expression but we are using the city streets for city art.” When ABC’s Martha Raddatz pressed her further, Bowser said she hadn’t “even had an opportunity to review it.”
Bowser’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
“We requested permission to paint the streets, ‘Black Preborn Lives Matter’ because now the mayor has opened up the streets for public expression,” Hawkins said. “We didn’t hear from the mayor. We were told from the police to use please temporary paint, which we agreed to do. But yet, we saw the mayor’s response — when we arrived on Saturday morning — with six police cars.”