San Antonio, TX — Earlier this year, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus presented his crime report to a public safety committee. It showed that crimes against people, property, and society skyrocketed in 2022 when compared to the previous year. McManus told city leaders he is “strongly concerned” about the violence.
“With homicide, we saw a pretty dramatic increase of 43%,” said McManus. “[There were] 231 homicides in 2022.”
One would think that given this shocking increase in criminal behavior that police would turn their efforts to prevent such things. But one would be wrong.
In the throes of this stark rise in crime, where law enforcement officers can’t even be bothered to respond to 911 calls about serious offenses such as stolen vehicles and assaults, the Leon Valley Police Department found the time and resources to apprehend an innocent chalk artist. This artist was arrested on public property, moments before a storm, for the crime of sketching non-permanent designs on the sidewalk. Yes, you read it right.
Lakey Hinson, a chalk enthusiast and the victim of this absurd overreach of authority, was merely adorning a public pavement in front of the Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union one balmy afternoon on May 15. He was interrupted mid-art by officers Jorge Breton and Alan Gonzalez. The veteran officer and his trainee had embarked on this adventure in response to an anonymous tip of ‘public property defacement’, as narrated by the Express-News.
In the video Hinson shared on Facebook, he can be seen reasoning with the officers about his temporary chalk art, emphasizing the imminent rain that would naturally erase his creation. Officer Breton, while handcuffing Hinson, audaciously remarks, “We want to give you a break; now you’re pushing us to do this.”
Taken to the station, Hinson’s video further reveals a higher-ranking officer advising Breton that Hinson’s chalk art did not constitute an arrestable offense. Breton, however, was nonchalant about the matter, suggesting he might “just let him go,” after double-checking whether the law had been breached. The superior officer cautiously noted the potential legal repercussion of such unwarranted detention.
Not surprisingly, all charges against Hinson were later dropped. And yet, in the face of such gross injustice, Hinson continues to contemplate legal action against the Leon Valley Police Department. “In relation to all of this, the most important thing to me is to find an attorney to the case pro bono,” he expressed on Facebook.