Anti-bridge activist Stu Noland has been voicing his opposition to the Ohio River Bridges Project in chalk. I’ve seen his tags downtown and in Waterfront Park, on supports for the interstate. LEO reports this week that Noland’s chalking got him into trouble with the law:

Recently, Metro Police detained and cited Noland after a security guard caught him spreading the message near City Hall. During the ordeal, Noland says he was handcuffed and searched for the arsenal of chalk.

“I think it’s safe to say if I was chalking puppies and rainbows no one would have had a problem,” says Noland, founder of Save Louisville, an organization opposed to the massive construction project. “It’s selective enforcement because of the message. I kept saying to the officer, ‘Seriously, guy, chalk?’”

The citation lists a Metro ordinance that puts graffiti under criminal mischief, but only mentions aerosol spray paint, broad-tipped indelible markers or etching acid. The law doesn’t specifically mention the easily removed, powdery crayons under its definitions.

Furthermore, during Earth Day 2003 at the Louisville Zoo, children were allowed to draw on the sidewalk with colored chalk to show ways to prevent water pollution. And during last year’s Idea Festival, no one had a problem when “Sidewalk Picasso” Julian Beever adorned downtown Louisville’s sidewalks with three-dimensional chalk illusions.