Man faces 13 years in prison for protesting against banks

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by iMikeT, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
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    California
    #1
    A San Diego man faces 13 years in prison for protesting against the big banks, primarily Bank of America, by writing anti-bank messages in front of the branches on public sidewalks with washable children's chalk. Washable children's chalk! What's next, arrest children who decide to draw happy faces on the sidewalk?

    San Diego's mayor is ready to let this one go while the city prosecutor is pursuing this to full extent of the law. The case judge has also issued a gag order and ruled that freedom of speech cannot be used as a defense.

    Our legal system has truly been corrupted by moneyed interest. It would seem that if you have a problem with the banks however, they have a problem with you. They will use the law to prosecute and make an example out of you.


    Via Reuters: San Diego protester faces vandalism charges for sidewalk chalk drawings
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Wtf is the reasoning behind the freedom of speech prohibition? I see this going to a higher court, with the ACLU behind it, pretty quickly if he's convicted.
     
  3. macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #3
    Smart move California. Let's put this guy in jail while you were ordered to release prisoners from your over-crowded jails.
     
  4. macrumors 68020

    sviato

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  5. macrumors demi-god

    Kurwenal

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    #5
    In other news: some people still walk into banks.
     
  6. macrumors regular

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    #6
    Your freedom of speech ends where private property begins...Simple concept..
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Ah, I'm pretty sure that around here (which is not San Diego) sidewalks are considered public property. Certainly, if you're standing on a sidewalk in a public place and speaking aloud, that's protected speech; I don't see how writing in chalk is that much different.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    TheHateMachine

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    #8
    "The mayor and city attorney have clashed over medical marijuana dispensary crackdowns, tourism district funds, bond issues and the mayor's recent successful effort to cut $500,000 from the city attorney's budget."

    Sounds like the city attorney's office has a bone to pick with the mayor too.

    ----------

    City sidewalk, not private property FYI.
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    Sydde

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    #9
    The "simple" part is not compatible with the "concept" part. You, for example, are not at liberty to express yourself on your own property if the city or state decides the means of your expression is unacceptable (unlicensed billboards, for instance, possibly even content that in violation of community standards). Then there are issues related to things like slander. Similarly, the laws pertaining to access and what rights you have beyond the lines of your property are somewhat complicated. Simple it is not.
     
  10. jnpy!$4g3cwk, Jun 28, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #10
    Sounds like a peaceful protest in a public place to me. Sounds like a First Amendment issue to me. Children use sidewalk chalk all the time. Sold openly in stores. Not controlled like spray paint sometimes is. I have never once heard of "damage" before. Clearly the problem here is the message, not the chalk.

    Jeff Olson made two mistakes.

    First, he disrespected the sacred institution of a bank. He would have been better off protesting in front of a church.

    Second, he (probably unwittingly) stepped into the middle of a power struggle between the mayor and the authoritarian city attorney. He may be collateral damage.
     
  11. macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #11
    13 years seems very harsh. Surely 13 hours (if that) community service is a little more a realistic punishment. I agree with him that big banks are incompetent, money grabbing, a-holes who risk customers money and take stupidly big bonuses for stupidly big failures; but graffiting the area is still a crime.

    But 13 years... that is an over-reaction.
     
  12. macrumors regular

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    #12
    I do believe he broke some laws and he should receive some type of punishment. The punishment being a slap on the wrist like community service and a fine (less than 2k)

    That I do not believe anyone would find unreasonable.
    13 years in jail is a different story.
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    Mousse

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    #13
    That's right. But the article was vague on that point. Was it the sidewalk between the bank's property and easement (city property) or the sidewalk between the parking lot and bank door (private property). From the wording, it sounds like he wrote on bank property.

     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #14
    So, we are all agreed then that sidewalk chalk causes actual damage to sidewalks? And, to think that the menace of sidewalk chalk is for sale in every Walgreen's around the country. Are we enabling millions and millions of children to become vandals?! OMG. Shocking. :rolleyes:

    Oh, BTW, chalk is largely the same as Tums antacids, and is found in nature all over. In fact, calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is one of the key raw ingredients in making the cement used for concrete.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate
     
  15. macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #15
    Ingenious! He was actually damaging the sidewalk by reinforcing it.
     
  16. macrumors demi-god

    Shrink

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    #16
    While the whole thing seems a bit more than stupid, it is worth noting that he is highly unlikely to get anything like 13 years.

    That said, bringing charges does seem a bit over the top.
     
  17. macrumors regular

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    #17
    The most damaging thing it does to the sidewalk is the dyes in the chalk might stain the concrete.

    Yes I know it is very common and one of the main ingratiates in it.

    But even though it was temporary does not change the fact it is vandlism.

    If you want to start putting money to it. The bank would have to send an employee out there to wash it off. Say after it is all said and done (benifits, tax ect) lets low ball that cost at $15 per hour but that can easily jump depending on who does that. Plus they have to deal with the issues of wet concrete, getting the hose and turning it on and so on. Those cost add up.

    As I said slap on the wrist punishment.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    TheHateMachine

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    #18
    I was going off the headline for the article.

    "(Reuters) - A protester is standing trial on criminal vandalism charges in San Diego, and faces a sentence of up to 13 years in prison if convicted, for a scribbling a series of anti-bank slogans in chalk on a city sidewalk."
     
  19. macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #19
    It's street art.
     
  20. macrumors regular

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    #20
    not if it is on private property. Also a lot of street art is vandalism.
     
  21. macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #21
    Vandals do not generally use chalk, mainly because it doesn't damage anything and washes off.
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    Mousse

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    #22
    I don't see how the Bank can take issue with him then. He didn't slander them or deface their property. If it's the City charging him with a crime... Good gawd man. There are worst offenders out there they should be focusing on. If I lived in San Deigo, I know who I'm voting AGAINST when the DA's seat is up for election again. Waste MY tax money, would you.
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    TheHateMachine

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    #23
    It is the city that is charging him with public vandalism. I think the city's attorney office is so adamant about doing it because the Mayor is against it. According to the article there is a clear rift between both offices with the mayor even cutting half a million dollars form the city attorney's office to curb "wasteful spending". I would imagine the butt mad from the attorney is spilling out into his work life.

    Then again there are hints of the bank levying its power by pushing this onto the city. Like he said in the article about if it were a hopscotch area he wouldn't be in this situation.
     
  24. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #24
    I'm curious how they got 13 counts out of this with combined sentencing and maximum punishment per count. That is just ridiculous. In fact it's ridiculous that this is anything more than a citation if that.


    Nothing stated points to this being on private property. You are the second person to suggest that, yet no one has presented any reasoning on it.
     
  25. macrumors regular

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    #25
    Even on public property there more than likely local laws about the sidewalks.
     

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