Cops Paint Over Inwood Mural That Depicts NYPD as ‘Murderers’ | DNAinfo

By Farran Powell and Carla Zanoni

Alan Ket - Piece

The mural was painted on the business with the permission of its owners. PHOTO CREDIT: DNAinfo | Farran Powell

INWOOD — The NYPD dispatched cops with paintbrushes to cover up a controversial mural on the side of an Inwood business Tuesday, after approaching the owner with concerns about its message, DNAinfo.com New York has learned.

A pair of plainclothes officers arrived at New Edition Cleaners at 4929 Broadway at 11 a.m. Tuesday, armed with buckets of black paint, rollerbrushes and drop cloths, and began painting over local graffiti artist Alan Ket’s five-day-old mural titled “Murderers.” The two identified themselves as police to a reporter.

The mural, which included the word “murderers” painted above several tombstones and coffins with epitaph names that included the NYPD, the Environmental Protection Agency and global corporations including Halliburton and Monsanto, was painted on the wall of the business with the permission of its owners.

Officers visited the store on Monday, telling owners that the painting needed to come down and calling the message a “bad idea.”

Read more: Cops Paint Over Inwood Mural That Depicts NYPD as ‘Murderers’ – DNAinfo.com New York.

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5 Responses to “Cops Paint Over Inwood Mural That Depicts NYPD as ‘Murderers’ | DNAinfo”

  1. James Bosley says:

    Questions for which I do not pretend to have an answer: If the mural was racist, or homophobic, or anti-semitic, and the offended people demanded the wall be painted over, is that censorship? Would our sympathy be with them or with the artist? Why do we feel the police don’t deserve the same respect? Does First Amendment protect all hate speech equally?

    • Stan says:

      Speech against the state and speech against a class of citizens (homosexuals, a race, etc) are categorically different when it comes to first amendment privileges. While I have problems with the politics of “hate speech”, this is clearly overt censorship of legitimate political speech.

      • James Bosley says:

        Because police officers work for the state does not mean they are the state, any more than fire fighters or teachers – would we sanction hate speech against them? As an anti-capatilst liberal I am often ashamed of the hypocrisy of my brothers who decry prejudice but jump to participate when it attacks the other guys.

  2. Rick says:

    My understanding from the article I read in DNAInfo was that the police were doing this WHILE on DUTY. Though I’ve only seen the pictures since it’s been DESTROYED… the tombstones represent INSTITUTIONS. It didn’t say POLICE or COPS are MURDERERS it says NYPD (and EPA and FDA and TV and BP etc) and whether or not you agree with the speech it’s protected. The police, representatives of the STATE, intimidated the owner of the wall into submitting to their decision to destroy the mural.

  3. iSkyscraper says:

    A couple mitigating factors that no one has really discussed:

    – the deliveryman for the pizza place just behind the mural was murdered, for real, on July 4th. Is it not possible that people were a bit sensitive to the giant word “MURDERERS”, especially when the political aspect is not really apparent when you drive by or walk by quickly?

    – I seriously doubt that anyone (the residents who supposedly complained, or the NYPD) minds political art on principle. Had the word been “MONSTERS” no one would have cared. On the other hand, had the word been “FUCK YOU” I’m sure residents would have been calling 311 nonstop to demand the removal of such offensive language in a public park.

    – Despite whatever conspiracy theory people want to spout, the NYPD are not in the business of protecting Haliburton and Bank of America and such from political art. If the thinking is that the political aspect of the mural offended the NYPD, why did they not just paint out the NYPD letters and walk away? Obviously the entire mural with its bullet-ridden “MURDERERS” was the issue and not the politics of it.

    I’m not defending the removal entirely. Should on-duty officers (or officers of any kind) removed the art? Absolutely not. It should have been done through normal channels. But I can at least understand why this would have been found offensive, entirely for non-political reasons, and requested removed.

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