A Black Lives Matter mural painted just two blocks away from the Palo Alto, California, police department is causing discrimination and harassment for police officers, five say in a lawsuit against the city.
The New York Post reported that the mural contains anti-police images, and the five police officers suing the city allege it is discriminatory and has brought harassment to law enforcement.
The Daily Post in Palo Alto reported that the mural, which spells “Black Lives Matter,” has images painted inside each letter. From the Daily Post:
The suit points out that in the letter “E” is an image of Joanne Chesimard, better known as Assata Shakur, who was convicted in 1977 for the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Wermer Foerster, a white police officer. Shakur was arrested and convicted of Foerster’s murder. She later escaped from prison and fled to Cuba, where she is believed to still be living.
The suit also points out that the mural included the logo of the New Black Panthers, which is identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group that has encouraged violence against whites, Jews and police officers.
“Law enforcement officers, including the plaintiffs, were forced to physically pass and confront the mural and its offensive, discriminatory and harassing iconography every time they entered the Palo Alto Police Department,” police write in the lawsuit.
The officers added that two vehicle entrances for the police station are a half block from the mural.
“Defendants created and allowed to exist the aforementioned discriminatory and harassing work environment,” the lawsuit says. “Not only did the defendants allow the harassing and discriminatory iconography to exist in the workplace, but they also sanctioned, approved, encouraged, and paid for it.”
The officers also write in their lawsuit that law enforcement told “people above them in the chain of command” that the mural violated state law, but said the city “ratified the conduct and insisted that it remain and persist.”
The lawsuit is the latest in the fight against the mural. In July 2020, the Daily Post reported, the National Police Association demanded it be removed, saying it was an “atrocity” to celebrate a cop killer right outside City Hall and so close to a police station.
“For law enforcement required to enter the building, is there any description other than a hostile work environment?” the association said in a statement, according to the Daily Post.
The artist who painted the portion of the mural that contained Shakur’s image, Cece Carpio, claimed she should be included because the cop killer is a threat to America’s “status quo,” who are the ones who see her as a threat to “racial capitalism and white supremacy.”
Again, the “status quo” see her as a cop murderer.
The lawsuit was filed on June 4, 2021, even though it appears the mural was removed last November.
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