Is marking up the street with chalk a crime?That's what some parents in Doylestown are wondering after 18 year old Connor Logan and a 17-year-old friend were slapped with summonses Tuesday for drawing sketches of sea turtles and a whale with chalk in the middle of North Clinton Street. POLL: Do you believe drawing in chalk on a public street is a criminal act?
Doylestown police Chief James Donnelly says although chalk washes off, the drawings are "an attempt at vandalism."
"I don't feel like I was doing anything wrong," said Connor Logan. "I was just drawing."Did the cops have to write a ticket? "What that seems like is they have nothing else better to do. You know they got to really nitpick," said Ian Bradley. Not so, says the police chief. "A 6 year old in the middle of the street or on the sidewalk drawing with chalk is not a crime. But you know, you're in the middle of the street at midnight and 18 years old and you're drawing, well that leads to some question," said Chief Jim Donnelly. After a series of graffiti incidents in the borough, Logan's art attack raised a red flag, which he gets. "If I had seen two kids doing that I obviously would have been suspicious," Logan said. But some think being issued a summons for criminal mischief goes too far. "I think definitely the cop should have stopped and maybe told them to take a walk and that should have been the extent of it," said Mike Cosdon. The chief says he'll talk with the officer who wrote the tickets to see if there's more to the story, and review the citations to see if criminal mischief is the appropriate charge. "I'm going to deal with it," Logan said. "I'm just going to pay it; it's going to be okay." Meanwhile, future criminals are flooding the streets flaunting the law with their multi-colored instruments of crime. "This is artistic expression at its best," says Katie Jones. The teens face summary citations, which come with a fine to be determined by a district judge.
The drawings already have been washed away by rain.Logan tells the newspaper that he found the chalk in the parking lot Tuesday night while waiting for friends. He says he's never done graffiti and thought his drawings were "harmless."
Information from: The Intelligencer