Tell Virginia Police Chalk Drawing is Not a Crime

Target: Bryan T. Norwood, Chief of Police in Richmond, VA

Goal: Remove mom’s punishment for letting her daughter draw on rocks with chalk.

In Richmond, Virginia, apparently what used to be considered an innocent children’s pastime is now being considered a crime. Susan Mortensen allowed her 4-year-old daughter to draw with chalk on rocks in a local park, which seems like something any parent would let her child do. However, she was given a ticket by a local police officer for vandalism and is now forced to complete 50 hours of community service. This innocent act of a child drawing with chalk should not be considered vandalism or a crime. Mortensen’s punishment is much too severe, and should be completely removed.

While Mortensen was ticketed before by the same cop for letting her daughter paint on rocks, chalk is much different than paint. Paint is more permanent, and thus can reasonably be considered vandalism, but chalk washes off the second it rains. How can something so temporary and innocent be considered vandalism if it comes off with water alone? This “crime” deserves no punishment at all, and especially not 50 hours of community service. Clearly there is not much for police to worry about in this town if a young child’s chalk drawing is considered a crime. Demand that Susan Mortensen’s punishment be removed and that her record be cleared of this act.


Dear Bryan T. Norwood,

Recently, a police officer in your department ticketed Susan Mortensen for letting her child draw with chalk on some rocks in a local park. Not only was this woman given a ticket for vandalism, but she is now forced to do 50 hours of community service. This is a completely ridiculous charge and it must be removed. How can chalk drawings be considered vandalism if they can easliy be washed away by rain? This woman should not have been charged with vandalism and her punishment must be removed.

Apparently, this same officer ticketed Mortensen earlier for letting her daughter paint on rocks. While painting is vandalism, chalk drawing is not, and these two incidents should not be compared to each other. It seems very possible that this officer previously had a bad confrontation with Mortensen and gave her a harsher punishment for this reason. If it were another citizen who he had not ticketed before, would this officer have given out a ticket for vandalism? Susan Mortensen seems to have faced unfair punishment for an innocent child’s drawing simply due to her history with this particular cop. Her charges of vandalism must be removed, and she should not have to complete her community service.


[Your Name Here]

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  1. SUE GRIFFITHS says:

    What is wrong with this officer? Does he have children and didn’t he ever chalk on pavements (sidewalks) when he was a kid? When I was growing up all my friends chalked on pavements to play hopscotch. What’s the problem? The rain washes it away and in these days of child obesity, kids sitting in front of the tv with a games console, this kind of game should be encouraged, chalk and all.

  2. I’d rather see children’s finger painting than gang spray tags.
    Let the kids have water paints and chalk and make the world a colorful happier place.

  3. Dana Ridgley says:

    With all this a person begins to wonder who are the children. These actions by the police are the acts of a bully. It is time to get real and act like sensible adults.

  4. sorry, but i disagree. there are places where chalk drawing seem more appropriate than in a state park and this mother should know better. granted, the infraction seems small and the chalk will indeed wash off EVENTUALLY, but i go to state parks to enjoy the greater ABSENCE of man’s impact on the environment and i shouldn’t have to wait for ample rainfalls to do so. perhaps this child and mother will garner a greater respect for the NATURAL beauty in our state parks.

  5. What kind of a jobsworth was this? What kind of a world are our kids growing up in? It would be funny if it wasn’t so reminiscent of 1984.

  6. TRUDY NICKOLS says:


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