American Political Prisoners: ‘Occupy Orlando’ Protester Timothy Michael Osmar Jailed for 3 Weeks for Chalk Writing on Sidewalk
An ‘Occupy Orlando protester spent three weeks in jail for writing on a sidewalk with chalk.
The Raw Story reports that 25-year-old Timothy Michael Osmar, who hails from South Carolina, was arrested on December 15 after Orlando police officers told him that it is “unlawful for any person to write, print, mark, paint, stamp or paste any sign, notice of advertisement upon the surface of any sidewalk or paved street in the city.”
But Osmar told WOFL that “I think it’s well within our rights as citizens to express ourselves, our political views and our grievances against our government.” His lawyer, Richard Wilson, says Osmar didn’t violate the ordinance cited by the arresting officers and his jailing was politically motivated.
“The city really doesn’t like the Occupiers, the Occupy Wall Street group,” Wilson told WOFL. “That’s why they were arresting people in the Occupy group jaywalking and taking them to jail. I never heard of a jaywalker being arrested and taken to jail. I heard that two of them got tickets for speeding while they were walking.”
“The is not a country where somebody should go to jail and be held without bond for writing on the sidewalk, when the city for years has allowed chalk art festivals,” he added. “They were so happy with other people writing on that same sidewalk, the mayor would give out an annual award to the chalk writers, which means that if the city’s position was correct in this case, he was actually giving out an award for the best, most talented law breaker.”
“This is not permanently defacing any property,” ‘Occupy’ protester Jim Callahan told WDBO. “It will be washed away in the next rain storm. And if they want to do it sooner they can put a garden hose to it.”
Messages of support could be seen on the sidewalk in front of Orlando City Hall, where authorities are allowing protesters to write in a designated area reminiscent of Bush-era “free speech zones.” The powers-that-be, it seems, do not subscribe to the notion that the entire United States is a free-speech zone.
One sidewalk message read: “Tim Osmar is being held as a political prisoner for doing this.”
Osmar vowed to continue his sidewalk chalk protest and wants the city of Orlando to give him his chalk back.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to challenge an ordinance which I and my peers find unconstitutional,” he told WOFL.
“I don’t need the permission of the State to do what I’ve done, because… I’m expressing myself.”
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