Stockton police response to chalk graffiti prompts questions | News
STOCKTON, CA - For a second time, adult protestors wrote in chalk all over the Stockton City Hall sidewalk. For a second time, city hall called police. This time, three officers showed up: a lieutenant, a sergeant, and an officer.
"They came out to educate the Occupy protestors on the municipal codes and the laws they may be violating, and we're letting them know we are taking a zero tolerance approach," said Stockton Police Department spokesman Officer Joe Silva.
City hall spokeswoman Connie Cochran said the Occupy Stockton chalk protestors were "blocking the free and clear access to city hall" for people who were there to conduct business. Chalk graffiti is a misdemeanor.
Stockton recently filed for bankruptcy, detectives are now investigating the city's 40th homicide, and the police department announced months ago that it will no longer respond to property crimes. The police response over sidewalk chalk did not please a Weston Ranch homeowner who says he's been hounding Stockton police to investigate his home burglary last week.
"They told me I have to fill a report online. I think I said, 'Are you kidding me? Are you serious?" said burglary victim James Feighery.
Feighery's laptops were stolen. So were his two flat-screen TVs, his sister's Jeep, money, and weapons.
"Then I said, 'Well, does a stolen shotgun and a vehicle change the plan?"
It did, but it still took two hours for police to show up to Feighery's home. On Monday, Feighery tried to get a copy of the police report, but it was never submitted.
"So, my sister's Jeep went at least three days and was never reported stolen," said Feighery.
Police said their officers are spread thin, and the three police supervisors who came out to city hall handle community service. The three officers wouldn't wouldn't have been on patrol calls anyway.
"We would have to have a patrol officer stationed at the city hall building in order to catch the protestors writing in chalk to issue citations," said Silva. "We do not have the patrol officers available to monitor the Occupy movement 24 hours a day. Our officers are going to call after call after call for violent crimes."
Occupy Stockton protestors said they are using the chalk protests to build a sense of community. City hall said it will continue to address the chalk graffiti when it comes up.
"I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed," said Feighery, who said he doubts Stockton police would come to his home for a sidewalk chalk crime.