Occupy Austin members
quickly uploaded a video showing the incident. A video of the incident is appended. Lainie Duro a member of the Occupy group who witnessed the arrest said:
"Today I saw the jolly red elf at the Capitol, cheerfully requesting that children write their wishes for a better world in chalk on the sidewalk. Santa said his favorite word was 'Community.' Various children wrote words like 'Peace,' 'Friendship,' and 'Grace'."
The man has been identified by the American-Statesman
as James Peterson. Although officers claim he was the only one writing on the sidewalk, bystanders said that other adults and children were doing so as well. This seems a case of discriminating against Santa Claus. Peterson has not only been charged with criminal mischief but also with evading arrest. Apparently he tried to escape down a chimney ;) after failing to locate his sleigh and reindeer. No doubt the children were not happy when Santa was put into the back of a police car.
A Texas State Preservation Board employee apparently asked Peterson to stop defacing the grounds but he refused. Apparently another person was also arrested for criminal mischief. No children were taken into custody I gather. Occupy Austin “believes that the use of washable sidewalk chalk is constitutionally protected free speech." Members of the group gathered at the Travis County Courthouse on Friday night to protest the arrests.
I just hope that Santa is let out on parole, after all this is Xmas Eve. Merry Xmas everyone! Occupy Austin members are tending to Santa's reindeer pending his release. Rudolph was so upset his red nose went completely dark.