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17 arrested in Chalk Walk aftermath at ArtWalk

By Tony Pierce
Published: Friday, July 13, 2012, at 09:15AM
Eric Zassenhaus / KPCC

Police line up on Spring Street where 20 were arrested Thursday. Charges ranged from vandalism to assault on an officer.

The LAPD has changed the official count of those arrested in Thursday night's clash to 17. The number has fluctuated between 12 and 20.

Ranging in charges from vandalism to assault on an officer, the LAPD is asserting that writing with chalk on surfaces (be they sidewalks, streets, or the sides of buildings) can be considered a misdemeanor or even felony crime.

“They were vandalizing the sidewalk and privately owned buildings writing in chalk. The city attorney – this is something they prosecute. It is a misdemeanor and sometimes it can be a felony,” LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman told KPCC.

Friday morning the OccupyLA Facebook page blamed police for last night's violence where officers had bottles thrown at them and some people were struck with rubber bullets.

"Let me be clear - all of this was a result of Commander Frank's poor leadership," the unnamed author at the OccupyLA Facebook page wrote. "The approximately 500 people who clashed with LAPD were private, regular Angelenos who are also sick & tired of the stupid and repressive tactics the LAPD employs every single day in the neighborhoods of LA. Not to mention the supreme stupidity of arresting anyone for using chalk on a public sidewalk."

Four officers were injured in the standoff which began as an Occupy protest at Pershing Square that moved to Spring Street where the monthly ArtWalk was taking place.

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