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Title: Artist Sheefy McFly arrested by Detroit police — while working on mural for the city
Source: Detroit Free Press
URL Source: https://www.freep.com/story/enterta ... -police-street-art/1538157001/
Published: Jun 23, 2019
Author: Ryan Patrick Hooper
Post Date: 2019-06-26 04:58:27 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 217
Comments: 6

On Wednesday, artist Sheefy McFly was arrested by two Detroit police officers who believed he was vandalizing a viaduct near 7 Mile and John R on the city’s northeast side.

In fact, 29-year-old McFly was working for the same employer as the police officers — the City of Detroit.

As part of City Walls — a sweeping, multi-year beautification effort to combat illegal graffiti with city-sanctioned artwork — McFly was commissioned to paint a mural at that viaduct in hopes of preventing future vandalism.

Sheefy McFly stands next to one of his murals near 7 Mile and John R. in Detroit on Saturday, June 22, 2019. Turner was commissioned by the city of Detroit to paint a series of murals, but was arrested last Wednesday when police believed he was vandalizing the area. (Photo: Anntaninna Biondo)

More: Detroit's Sheefy McFly: Whether he's painting or emceeing, the creativity is nonstop

McFly, who is also a musician, has become a sought-after artist in recent years for his vivid and fun illustrative style that looks and feels like a hip-hop makeover of Saturday morning cartoons of yore. His first mural for the City Walls program was an homage to local pop culture featuring Cartier glasses and a quote from the late Detroit rapper Blade Icewood.

McFly — whose real name is Tashif Turner — was hired through the city’s managing contractor 1xRun, a Detroit-based art publishing house that also oversees the annual Murals in the Market street art festival in Eastern Market.

But without his city-issued permit in hand, McFly said police mistook him for a vandal after he’d been working on the viaduct for several days.

“It’s an oxymoron — doing something for the city and being arrested by the city,” said McFly in a Friday night interview.

As McFly tried to explain the situation to the police, he said more officers arrived with “four or five police cars” on site. And even as a city official showed up to vouch for the artist and spoke with a DPD supervisor, McFly said the situation escalated.

Detroit Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said the officers found him to be uncooperative with their investigation.

The disagreement led to McFly being arrested for alleged resisting and obstructing police, as well as on an outstanding traffic warrant, said Kirkwood.

Kirkwood added that the resisting and obstructing charge will likely be sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for further review.

McFly said when he walked away to check his bag for his permit, officers tried to detain him, with one of the officers putting her hand on his neck.

“They treated me like a felon even though I was commissioned by the city to do this,” said McFly, who added that he felt “depressed” after being arrested for the first time.

“I felt threatened for my life,” said McFly. “I felt like if I really didn’t keep my composure, they would’ve beat my (expletive).”

McFly said he spent about 24 hours at the nearby Detroit Detention Center before being released, describing the conditions as “horrible.”

“We had to sleep on mats. They didn’t clean any of the cells,” said McFly. “It felt like animals in a cage.”

McFly said he has a court date for the parking ticket warrant on July 3. 

And he’s still trying to decide if he’ll finish the mural.

“I may go back next week, but I need some days to collect myself and figure out how I can be safe. I feel racially profiled and bullied.”

City Walls and Detroit street art

Launched in 2017 by the city’s General Services Department, the City Walls program was expanded last year with an increased budget of $200,000 aimed at commissioning about 60 murals by 25 artists in neighborhoods across the city where illegal graffiti is seen as a nuisance.

Those funds are used to pay artists for their work, their supplies and to contract 1xRun to facilitate the program.

McFly had received a $10,000 contract to paint 10 murals as part of a blight abatement artist residency program, with the 7 Mile and John R viaduct being the first.

Brad Dick is the group executive of infrastructure for the City of Detroit and oversees the City Walls program, which he helped launch two years ago as the former director of general services.

During an interview with the Free Press, he said McFly’s arrest was a miscommunication between the city and the police department.

“When we’re doing murals, we have a police lieutenant we work with to make sure surrounding precincts are aware that it’s a city-sponsored program and the artists have permits,” said Dick. “Unfortunately, some random officers who weren’t associated with the nearby precincts drove by and saw him and thought it was an unauthorized action. They stopped him and he didn’t have his permit with him.”

He said other artists working on the project have been questioned by Detroit police in the past, but “there was no issue because they had their credentials,” said Dick.

By next week, Dick said there will be changes made to how the program operates with the City of Detroit and managing contractor 1xRun increasing signage at project sites and mandating that all artists wear identifying lanyards while working on their respective murals.

They’ll also increase education and awareness of the City Walls program to all Detroit police precincts instead of only notifying nearby precincts where projects are happening, said Dick.

“I feel bad that it happened. He was there on a city-sponsored project,” said Dick. “We want City Walls to be successful. We want it to do well.”

Detroit has a long relationship with street art — sanctioned and illegal — and in recent years has garnered national attention as a hotbed for the edgy expression, thanks in part to homegrown artists like McFly as well as high-profile visits from brand-name street artists like Shepard Fairey. But for city government, and Mayor Mike Duggan, that relationship has been rocky at times, including a high-profile prosecution of Fairey. When the City Walls program was created in 2017, the mayor’s media relations director called it an “evolution” in the city’s approach.

But since his days as a prosecutor, Duggan has been outspoken toward pursuing and pressing charges against graffiti artists. It’s put Detroit on the map nationally for enforcing graffiti laws while other cities have backed off strict enforcement or adopted more policies or programs similar to City Walls.

More: City of Detroit's new street-art initiative hires artists to fight blight

In a statement, 1xRun founder and CEO Jesse Cory said such a widespread graffiti abatement program comes with the challenge of deciphering what’s vandalism and what’s public art designed to benefit the community.

“A program that spans such a wide area and so many works of public art is a new concept and it was unfortunate that Sheefy was arrested as the program kicked off,” said Cory. “Ensuring communication and education between city officials and police officers is a top priority of the project as it expands throughout the year.” (1 image)

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

I wonder how hardworking families trying to save up for a new washing machine feel about having their money stolen for purposes such as this and all the government parasites on the payroll to "manage" it?

Hank Rearden  posted on  2019-06-26   9:49:58 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: Deckard (#0)

“I felt threatened for my life,” said McFly. “

What's wrong, McFly? Chicken?

misterwhite  posted on  2019-06-26   9:58:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: misterwhite (#2)

“I felt threatened for my life,” said McFly. “

What's wrong, McFly? Chicken?

Yet cops who claim "I feared for my life" are legally allowed to commit murder, whether the threat is real or not.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-06-26   10:12:28 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#4. To: Deckard (#3)

Ah. Never saw Back to the Future, huh?

misterwhite  posted on  2019-06-26   11:48:00 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#5. To: Hank Rearden (#1)

wonder how hardworking families trying to save up for a new washing machine feel about having their money stolen for purposes such as this and all the government parasites on the payroll to "manage" it?

Hank Rearden

wonder how hardworking families and feel about having their money stolen for police force overreactions like this?

What in hell are these cops trying to prove? Do they really think they can ‘rule’ a city by using force?

tpaine  posted on  2019-06-26   12:41:33 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#6. To: Deckard, jack booted art critics, anarchist PD (#0)

Another example of Big Stupid Government creating a problem that's gonna cost you.

They had high quality graffiti for free, but they had to steal money from residents to pay some jamoke with no talent to paint cartoons.

Ron Paul - Lake Jackson Texas Values

Hondo68  posted on  2019-06-26   17:34:47 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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