People protest graffiti citations

Published: Jun. 5, 2017 at 6:08 PM CDT
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A crowd gathered outside Onalaska City Hall Monday to protest graffiti citations against a woman and her daughter.

Lori Lunney and her teenage daughter, Pearl, say they and other community members wrote a variety of sidewalk chalk messages in Onalaska at the Great River Landing in April.

The messages were in support of various social justice issues, such as Black Lives Matter.

Lunney says she and her daughter later received citations for graffiti and an invoice for restitution, totaling nearly $1,000.

Onalaska's City Administrator, Eric Rindfleisch, says the citations were not about the content of the messages, but rather that it took seven total man hours to clean up 1,000 feet of chalk messages.

"It doesn’t sound like it was intentional to damage or deface the property, but because work had to be done to fix it up to return to the state, that really rises in my mind to the standard of defacing the property," he said.

"It’s very much secondary, the citation is," Lori said. "We felt that it was very blown out of proportion."

Lunney and her daughter say they're both pleading not guilty and will return to municipal court in August.