9 UC Irvine Students Detained for "Chalking"
Update: A UC Irvine spokesperson denies that there were any detentions and says that campus police have only been taking reports.
Nine UC Irvine students were detained by campus police in the past week for chalking--that is, writing messages on outdoor ground surfaces with sidewalk chalk. The first five, detained on Nov. 17, were chalking in protest of the recent tuition hike, and the next four, detained yesterday, were chalking in protest of the detainment of the previous chalkers, according to student reports.
The students scribed messages such as "Chalk-upy Everything" and "1st Amendment, Bitches."
The chalkers were allegedly stopped for vandalism and told by campus police that they could face criminal charges. On the blog of activist group Occupy UCI, students make their case that chalk, under law, is not the same as graffiti, and does not damage or destroy property.
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Occupy UCI is also calling for the termination of UCIPD officer Jared Kemper for pointing a loaded weapon at protesters during a recent student demonstration at UC San Francisco, along with other incidents. Kemper showed up at yesterday's chalking demonstration at UCI, and was heckled by students.
Here's a description of the chalking demonstration from Occupy UCI:
Two officers arrived on the scene immediately, to run down students and check hands for chalk, including one officer who was involved in repressing chalking last week (Cpl. Jamie Park, #928). This same officer, like last week, threatened to arrest anyone asking for their info, trying to inform students of their rights, or getting too close while videotaping. Then a third officer arrived: JARED KEMPER. Apparently Officer Kemper is under use of force review but has not been placed on leave after repeatedly beating students, aiming his gun at students, and then shoving a female student. After the crowd of 30-40 students that had gathered began chanting "FIRE KEMPER!" he was quickly whisked away and replaced by 2 more cops, including a plainclothes cop. As the students were being released, student workers had been sent with mops and buckets to begin cleaning up the chalk; though they particularly focused on the anti-police statements, including "UCPD DON'T SHOOT ME!" and "OFFICER KEMPER: ARMED AND DANGEROUS."
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