California judge dismisses officers’ lawsuit over BLM mural with Assata Shakur
Six Palo Alto, Calif. police officers have filed a civil lawsuit against the city for being ‘forced’ past a mural depicting victims of police brutality and Assata Shakur, a member of the Black Liberation Army for years 1970. A Santa Clara judge recently dismissed their lawsuit.
By news from mercury, officers Eric Figueroa, Michael Foley, Christopher Moore, Robert Parham, Julie Tannock and David Ferreira claimed they were “forced to physically walk through and confront the mural every time they entered the police department of Palo Alto”. They described the work as “offensive, discriminatory and harassing iconography” which fostered a “hostile” and “retaliatory” work environment.
The mural was commissioned by Palo Alto in June 2020 following heated protests following the brutal police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It was set up in front of its city hall, a collaboration of 16 teams of artists, with each artist’s team painting a letter in the all-caps statement, “Black Lives Matter.”
The “e” in the word “matter” featured an image of Shakur, who in 1973 became the first woman to appear on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list. She later escaped from prison in a daring escape and fled to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum. His mural also included one of his quotes: “We must love to support each other.”
Although Shakur is a polarizing figure, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Socrates Peter Manoukian ruled that officers failed to provide enough evidence that the mural constituted discrimination. Furthermore, he noted that the police “are not a protected class” and said there was no evidence to show that the installation of the mural was retaliatory.
“There is no suggestion that the mural and its iconography were created in favor of one group over another,” Manoukian wrote, according to the report. “Similarly, Plaintiffs provide no factual allegation that would suggest that Defendant City’s refusal to respond to Plaintiffs’ complaints about the Mural is based on Plaintiffs’ race, ethnicity, or other protected classification.”
By Palo Alto Onlinethe mural was removed in November 2020. The city has voted to install a permanent art installation in King Plaza that will recognize its racial justice and equity priorities.
Vice Mayor Tom DuBois said at an August 25, 2020 meeting that while the mural art project was “rushed” and temporary, “the purpose was to show our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and bring our community – the residents, the police and really everyone. It’s unfortunate that art can also be divisive, and parts of it were divisive.
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