November 12, 2021

DC Police Drop Charges Against Pro-Lifers for Chalking Sidewalk in 2020

Over one year after arresting two pro-life activists for chalking a public sidewalk, DC police have dropped charges.

Warner DePriest and Erica Caoraletti were arrested for writing the message “Black Preborn Lives Matter” in chalk on the sidewalk outside of a Planned Parenthood. They were at a rally organized by Students for Life of America (SFLA), at which they had originally planned to paint their message on the street.

DC Mayor Bowser had opened the streets of DC to protest by commissioning a mural reading "Black Lives Matter" on 16th Street. The next day, the words "Defund the Police" were painted next to the mural, but no charges were pressed.

SFLA then received a permit to hold a rally, and informed city officials that they would paint a message on the street. “We were told verbally that we would not be prevented from painting and what kind of paint to buy,” SFLA spokesperson Kristi Hamrick wrote to the Washington Times.

Police appeared at the rally, told the group that they did not have a permit to paint on the street, and arrested DePriest and Caoraletti for writing with chalk on the sidewalk.

SFLA president Kristan Hawkins wrote in a statement that she “is celebrating today, as finally two students are cleared of any penalties for the unlikely ‘crime’ of trying to chalk BLACK PREBORN LIVES MATTER in the nation’s capital. At a moment in time when across the country people were talking about issues impacting the Black community, Students for Life and the Frederick Douglass Foundation joined together to speak for the preborn, only to be told that our speech was not welcome and was even criminal.”