SPD Agrees that Police Have No Authority Over Public Art


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 Lady Gaga, a harlequin baby, an aborted fetus, 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.
i think the police may have just been acting as an intermediary between the groups. well, that's what i think by reading this account, but then again, i wasn't there, so who knows
OMG, the police totally should have relayed concerns they've been getting. There's a Resource Center on that corner as well, and it's there to help improve relations between police and the local community, and relaying a message saying, "hey, these people don't like the prominent display of a crack dealer, you should talk to them" =/= "take down the picture, we're judging it".

So, apparently, trying to be helpful, trying to integrate better into the community, has people's panties in a knot. Pick one, either integration and working with communities, or having no relationship building. You can't have both.
I think that kind of is the job of the police , only, perhaps the police should have made it very clear that they were simply relaying a neighborhood concern. Otherwise, this, or a situation like it, could intimidate a person into acting to avoid perceived trouble.
I have to disagree with the ACLU on this one - acting as an intermediary between people who have a dispute is exactly their job. Whether that's what happened here remains to be seen, though.
I do agree that its OK for the police to be an intermediary in a case like this. Like many of you have stated, its their job.

But as someone who lives not more than 200 feet from this corner and talk with his neighbors all the time. Im not convinced that there was any actual public outrage to Saviors picture.
Hey this is good to know. I'm contacting the police about Poster Giant just as soon as I hit send on this hilarious comment.

I was wondering the same thing - I mean, it's been right there on the corner for all to see for more than a year now. But someone only complained about it recently? Makes me think whomever it was doesn't actually LIVE near 23rd & E. Union.
oh no a picture, i cant live with it out there on the street, please fix my community for me, my poor sensitive eyes hurt when I see the man's picture out there, and i need the police to tell people how I feel because I am to afraid to speak for my self, so I have police intimidate using fear to have these removed, GREAT, now we all live in isolation and fear of one another, much better
@8, the pic's been up for a year, but the dude was only arrested for dealing and possession of a weapon recently. That might explain it.
This is most likely a case of miscommunication between the people who complained, the police and the curators of The Corner.

Taking the issue in a different direction though. What say do the police have in ordering a private business/residence to remove graffiti or face a fine? What about the areas underneath freeways, overpasses, etc. where the public rarely, rarely ventures and where thousands and thousands of dollars are spent every year to clean up beautiful graffiti pieces?

What's wrong with the piece below? It's not on anyones private property. It's not an ugly blight on society because the large majority of society can't even see it. Why was it painted over again and again?

Has he been convicted, let alone tried yet? All I see is mention that he was arrested.

And either way: so a guy who's part of the community enough to have his picture up committed a crime - that'll happen.

White people: Stop being afraid of black people.

Sounds to me like someone's scared of Saviour and is capitalizing on his recent arrest to try to get his picture taken down...

EXCEPT that Mr. Knowles is quite well-known in the neighborhood, since he can be seen in the vicinity of that corner practically every day. The people who live there are already aware of his activities.
Sounds like this might have been a case of good intentions going awry.
Yeah, Savior used to live in a van with newspapered windows across the street from Union Market with his two hos (one of them the crazy lady in the hijab and gold helmet). It was interesting chatting with him about the vampires he said he was here to protect us from.

Anyway, I feel this is the police generally doing their job as community peace officers and conflict mediators. One nieghbor wanted to bring something up with another and needed a facilitator. The city provided one in the shape of a community peace officer.

In this case I see why the ACLU is being absolutist about it, but the city should be able to act as messenger without knee-jerking about 1st Amendment issues.