Teen Halted From Chalking Names of War Dead

This is so appalling, it doesn’t even need a comment.  Welcome to Amerika.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fort Myers police have stopped a teenager from chalking the names of Iraq war casualties on downtown sidewalks.

Willie Filkowski, 15, and two companions were told to stop their writing after a city worker called authorities claiming there was an anti-war protest going on in downtown.

Filkowski had begun his chalk work July 1 and had worked on his memorial most nights along with his parents, sister and friends. He started writing the names beneath a flagpole in an area park and had written almost 300 names before being stopped Monday evening. Recent rains and power washings have since swept away much of the writing.

“I thought it would be thought-provoking, and it appeals to people on both sides of the issue,” Filkowski told The News-Press in Fort Myers.

Authorities told him the chalk was graffiti, he said.

An officer told the teen he should apply for a permit with the City Council, Fort Myers Police Department spokeswoman Maureen Buice said. Officers thought the chalking could distract drivers and pedestrians, causing accidents or affecting foot traffic, Buice said.

Filkowski won’t necessarily be chalking again any time soon, however. The acting city manager told The News-Press he wouldn’t grant a permit because Filkowski does not have any signs or plaques recognizing his work as a memorial.

The legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Randall Marshall, said the city may be overstepping its boundaries, judging the chalking on its content.


  1. While I think the Fort Myers authorities are being stupid, what the young man was doing was against city ordinances.

    “[sic] does not have any signs or plaques recognizing his work as a memorial.”

    That is easily correctable. Adherence to standards and forms is important, especially in the case of urban art / graffiti which is a surprisingly heated issue.

    Now, if he gets himslef a sign or plaque and they still won’t let him proceed then it’s time for a reaction – a strong one.

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