Five police officers are suing the city of Palo Alto in Silicon Valley after it allowed anti-police images to be part of a Black Lives Matter mural.
The officers have claimed that the images constituted harassment and discrimination against law enforcement.
The mural, located across the road from City Hall, was painted June 2020 in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, and was supposed to remain there for 12 months. It was removed by November last year, however.
Police officers filed the lawsuit on Wednesday, July 7, which points out that in the letter ‘E’ was an image of Joanne Chesimard, who was convicted of the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Wermer Foerster, a white police officer, in 1977.
The lawsuit also notes that the mural included the logo of the New Black Panthers – a group known for encouraging violence against white people, members of the Jewish community, and police officers, Palo Alto Daily Post reports.
Part of the suit read:
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.
It continued, ‘Defendants created and allowed to exist the aforementioned discriminatory and harassing work environment. 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.’
Upon the mural’s creation last year, National Police Association demanded it be removed and branded it as an ‘atrocity’ to celebrate a cop killer.
Artist Cece Carpio, who painted the controversial section, later defended her decision to paint Joanne Chesimard on the mural because the nation’s ‘status quo’ saw her as a threat to ‘racial capitalism and white supremacy’.
The city’s spokesperson, Meghan Horrigan-Taylor, also defended the mural and insisted that ‘in no way does the mural take away from the value we have in our police officers who serve our community every day’.
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Palo Alto Daily Post
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