Twitter user Kitty Schackleford posted a livestream video Wednesday of an unidentified artist showing parts of the mural with messages written on the BLM letters, including “abolish capitalism,”“F**k 12” and “pigs will be pigs.”
Apparently the city of Seattle is paying artists, including this militant streamer to permanently restore the Black Lives Matter mural outside the CHOP zone. "ACAB," "no good cops in a racist system," & "abolish ICE" (among other things) are now officially endorsed by the city. / pic.twitter.com/XHFuspU0qf
— Kitty Shackleford (@KittyLists) October 7, 2020
Another message threatened to charge Mayor Jenny Durkan, whose administration is paying for the mural, while still another said “100% Antifa,” a line used in the manifesto written by Michael Reinoehl, the Portland activist who allegedly stalked and murdered a Patriot Prayer demonstrator in August before later being killed by federal marshals who were attempting to arrest him.
“The funny thing is . . ., the city of Seattle is paying me to do this, so it’s beautiful,” the artist said in the video posted by Shackleford. He then cackled before reading out some of the messages, saying, “No good cops in a racist system, city of Seattle. Jenny Durkan, you’re next. You can’t hide. We charge you with – I gotta finish the sentence.”
The artist for the part of the mural shown in the video was identified in a local media report as a person named Future Crystals. Posts on an Instagram account under the same name included the same video and still pictures, including one that invited followers to suggest phrases to write on the mural.
Shortly after the renovated mural went up, the city authorities and other artists working on the project apparently took notice of anti-police insults and other slogans the final work featured. A video by Journalist Jonathan Choe showed the messages being “cleaned up” on Thursday afternoon. Choe said that the scrawlings were not approved by the city, while Future Crystals defended them as “artistic expression”.
“Future Crystals” says this was simply artistic expression. He also went on line and asked his social media followers what he should add to the letter “E.” No word yet from @SDOTtraffic @SeattlePD @SPOG1952 @SeattleArts @MayorJenny #seattleprotests #seattle #seattlepolice pic.twitter.com/3zKKhILXfB
— Jonathan Choe Journalist KOMO News (@choeshow) October 9, 2020
The city announced the mural project last month, saying the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) would collaborate with Vivid Matter Collective, the artist group that created the original BLM mural on the site. Paint on the original mural rapidly deteriorated because of the pavement’s smoothness, so the artists were hired to replace it. SDOT scored the pavement to prepare the surface and advised the artists on use of primer and paint layering to make the new mural durable.
SDOT confirmed that the artists will be compensated, though the amount wasn’t disclosed, and told the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog that it wouldn’t know the cost of the project until it’s finished. Even after completion, “there will be ongoing investments to preserve the artwork in the future.”
Schackleford questioned why the city is giving the artists “a blank check” to paint the mural and allowing messaging such as “ACAB” when Seattle’s police are being imperiled in violent clashes with rioters. Six officers were reportedly injured in just one incident.
The new mural’s city-funded — albeit unauthorized — messaging is only the latest in a series of blows for Seattle’s police, whose chief, Carmen Best, resigned in August amid a City Council push to slash her department’s funding. At the same time, the city agreed to pay a convicted pimp, Andre Taylor, $150,000 under a one-year contract to come up with “alternatives to policing.”
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