What the Heck?: Police "Persuade" People to Take Down Public Art at 23rd and Union


From the King 5 article:

In the meantime those left tearing the exhibit down wonder whether police can legally use their authority to "persuade" a private property owner to take down a piece of public art.

The answer at all times is legally a hard "No" in this country. Seriously, what person in the SPD decided the police have any business to even speak in an official, even vaguely authoritative capacity about any "art"? The police have zero power, remit, legal authority, or business in such a matter any more than they do in deciding what news can be printed or what colors I paint my home.

Take this one by the neck please, guys. First Amendment trumps all.
The police didn't take it down, the property owner took it down. So, uh, what?
@2 the question is what role did the police play in that, based on the wording of the King 5 and Jen's write ups. I'm baffled at what role the police have at all of policing the arts.
the property owner had to take it down or have the public art piss kicked out of him

@3, my guess is, it went down something like this:

Art Boob: "please put up my portrait of Saviour Knowledge, the really awesome dude who hangs out in the neighborhood".

Property Owner: "sure, sounds great".

Cop: "uh, you know he's a convicted murderer who deals crack every day on this corner and just got popped the other day for felon in possession of a firearm, right?"

Property Owner: "holy crap, I'll take it down right now".

Not seeing the scandal here.
Has anyone contacted Jenny Asarnow, from KUOW? She did the feature called "The Corner" about 23rd and Union last summer. This photo was used for the promotions for that series.
No @4, Jim Mueller, the property owner (who BTW has been very supportive of this project) did not HAVE to take it down, even if SPD advised him to - it's HIS property, and unless the art somehow transgresses an actual law (which it didn't), there's not a thing the police, or his neighbors can do about it. Mueller, and the installation's creator Jenny Asarnow made the decision to take it down, but from what I understand there was no coercion on the part of SPD compelling them to do so.
@5, @7, if that's so then that's the sort of thing the King 5 article really ought to make clear, instead of just tossing out...

KING 5 News has obtained an e-mail from a Seattle Police officer to both the organizer of the exhibit and the property owner alleging complaints from neighbors about Knowles's photo. It reads, "They are asking me to ask you to please take down his picture."

In the meantime those left tearing the exhibit down wonder whether police can legally use their authority to "persuade" a private property owner to take down a piece of public art.

And implying malfeasance in their wording. I still question whether the police have any role to play here in anything with the arts. If I owned a building across the street from a church and put up a mural of a priest salivating over children, and people complained to the police, should the police come to me? What's the threshold for offensive art? A 90 foot Piss Christ? A 90 foot picture of a feces? A 90 foot portrait of Maurice Clemmons or the Green River Killer?

I get extremely uncomfortable with any idea of the police having any input or action involving anything with the arts, whether they're stupid arts or not-stupid arts.
The police says that there were complaints from neighbors.
Hmmm.. I find that BS. I live at 22nd & Union. I can look out on to that lot from my bedroom. I know most of my neighbors on that street and talk with them when we see each other. Everyone I have talked to likes "the Corner" art project. So I wonder who exactly the police have talked to. It wasn't me.
Also, I see Savior around. I dont know him, But I dont see him as anything to worry about he is just another person in the the neighborhood doing his thing. He doesn't bother anyone.
Now hear me out officer, I know it looks like I am selling crack and I am in illegal possession of a firearm, but I can explain what is really going on. I take care of this corner and the community and somebody just happened to have left a bunch of baggies of crack and a gun on the ground over there where I was sweeping. I picked them up and I was just on my way to the police station to file a report. I would hate for some kids to accidentally pick this up.

I don't think anyone has attempted to excuse or justify Knowles' alleged actions - there is still a fair amount of dealing going on in the neighborhood, although most of it seems to have moved down to 23rd & E. Cherry, and IME most of the people who live in the area have very little tolerance for this sort of behavior - but, in any event, all that is quite beside the point. The real question is whether SPD, in acting as a go-between used coercion or intimidation against Mueller in order to convince him to remove the installation. Based on what I've read and heard from my neighbors (I live only slightly farther away from the corner than @9, and yes, us folks in Squire Park DO talk to each other), that doesn't seem to be the case here.

People are sorry to see the installation go, but I haven't heard any of the locals blame either SPD or Mueller; if anything, people are more annoyed the complainer chose the Passive Aggressive approach of making the police carry their message, rather than manning up and doing it themselves directly.