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9 Oct, 2020 01:06

Seattle city government pays artists to restore BLM mural featuring such messages as ‘F**k police’ and ‘abolish capitalism’

Seattle city government pays artists to restore BLM mural featuring such messages as ‘F**k police’ and ‘abolish capitalism’

The city of Seattle apparently paid street artists to restore a Black Lives Matter mural near the former CHOP autonomous zone, in the process funding such eyebrow-raising messages as “ACAB,” “abolish ICE” and “100% Antifa.”

Twitter user Kitty Schackleford posted a livestream video on 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.”

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.”

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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 featured on the final work. 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."

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.

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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.”

Shackleford 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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