A Black Lives Matter masonry in a Cleveland neighborhood aimed at honoring the movement and those killed by law enforcement were dispersed Monday with messages reading “stop killing each other” and “Black Matthew is Marxist” .
City councilor Blaine Griffin told Fox News that about 100 artists gathered over the weekend to paint murals on East 93rd Street in the Kinsman neighborhood, which he represents on the 17-member body. The alleged vandalism, he said, has conservative views and should be allowed to express them without being involved in vandalism.
“I thought it was very inappropriate, very disrespectful and I also thought it was very disingenuous for a person who knew all these artists and all these community residents who did this as a sense of pride, that he would come out there and it would impose his faith on the will of hundreds of thousands of people who have made this a regional attraction, ”Griffin said.
The Cleveland Police Department did not give Fox News a statement about the incident but told Cleveland.com that the case is being investigated as a possible suspicion of criminal conduct, a misdemeanor.
Ricky Smith, one of the mural organizers, told the newspaper that the man had painted on messages before.
“The man who does something negative should not give up the amazing work of artists, the wonderful love of visitors and the amazing energy of everyone behind it,” he told outlet.
Griffin said the mural was more about speaking out against brutality and police violence. He also challenged the account from a witness who said a police officer near the mural was sleeping in his patrol car while the vandalism took place.
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He said the police department supports the murals and officers are engaged with the community.
“It’s really unfortunate that people are trying to paint all these different stories,” he said. “This is another person who imposed their convictions, certainly trying to challenge the police department.”
The artists involved plan to paint the messages, Griffin said, adding that vandalism has resulted in further support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Whatever he tried to do backwards,” he said. “And I think the guy honestly is a selfish individual and a person who doesn’t have a moral compass.”
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Similar murals honoring the issue of black life have sprung up in the community across the country following the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis last month.
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