Moscow chalk art

In a video screen grab, chalk art is shown Thursday night near the steps of Moscow City Hall. The chalk art image is similar to that shown on stickers posted downtown in October, which led to charges against those posting the stickers.

Charges against two Moscow teenagers and their father for allegedly creating and posting anti-government stickers on downtown Moscow poles in October found a public audience this week, which apparently inspired others to produce chalk art Thursday night with a similar message.

The stickers, and subsequent chalk art, were developed in protest of Moscow’s face covering/social distancing order. Each read “SOVIET MOSCOW ENFORCED BECAUSE WE CARE” on the perimeter of a red circle with a yellow hammer and sickle in the circle.

The message appears to mock the city’s “MASK MOSCOW ENFORCED BECAUSE WE CARE” signs on the edges of town.

Rory Wilson, 18, was charged with misdemeanor “posting on fences or buildings or poles on public property or private property without consent” and pleaded not guilty to the charge Oct. 22, according to Idaho’s court portal.

Rory’s 14-year-old brother was also charged, according to a news release from Nathan Wilson, the father of Rory and the 14-year-old, published in the Moscow Report on Monday.

Nathan Wilson was also charged with the same misdemeanor charge as Rory Wilson, according to that state court portal. He pleaded not guilty Oct. 22.

Moscow Report, according to its website, was founded in 2017 as a “local news source and place for community members to share on-the-ground photos and videos during news events. A secondary but important goal was to promote the beauty and history of Moscow, and highlight local businesses.”

Nathan made the “SOVIET MOSCOW” stickers, which is why he was charged, according to Doug Wilson, pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, father of Nathan Wilson and grandfather of Rory Wilson and his brother.

Doug Wilson said the sticker posting was an expression of free speech, adding that criticizing the actions of the government is legal.

“It’s political speech, free speech,” Doug Wilson said.

Moscow Prosecuting Attorney Liz Warner said she could not discuss the facts of the open cases.

Nathan Wilson and Rory Wilson are scheduled for pretrial conferences at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in front of Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall. Samuel Creason, a Lewiston attorney, is representing both men. Creason could not be immediately reached for comment.

“I was proud of my boys,” Nathan Wilson said in the news release. “It is important to stand up against men who begin to abuse power, even when that abuse is small, and especially when those men are carrying badges and guns.”

Also this week, Moscow Police Department Capt. Will Krasselt said about 50 stickers were reportedly placed on street poles Tuesday in downtown Moscow.

Krasselt said the stickers varied in style, with more than 25 different messages included.

According to the Moscow police daily activity log, stickers were reported on poles outside Champions Bar and Grill, at the intersection of South Main and East Sixth streets, at Friendship Square and at the intersection of South Jackson and West Third streets.

The stickers have been removed. Police were doing follow-up and did not have suspects in the Tuesday incident.

As for the chalk drawings, four of them were drawn Thursday night downtown, Krasselt said.

The four drawings were the same as the “SOVIET MOSCOW ENFORCED BECAUSE WE CARE” stickers. Krasselt said one was drawn on the sidewalk outside City Hall, two were at Friendship Square and one was on the corner of Third and Main streets.

Krasselt said police contacted two people that night but they were not cited or arrested.

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

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