The FBI dubbed Detroit the most dangerous city in America two years in a row, but that didn’t stop police from dispatching “a team” to investigate artwork allegedly posted on abandoned buildings by world-renowned street artist Shepard Fairey.
Fairey, 45, is in court today for a preliminary examination to determine if enough evidence exists to warrant a trial on two felony counts of malicious destruction of property.
During the exam, Detroit Police Sgt. Rebecca McKay said “a team” of investigators handled the case.
Despite the effort, the city’s only evidence appears to be that the posters contained “iconic” images created by Fairey. Asked whether she witnessed Fairey posting the images, Sgt. McKay responded: “With my eyes, did I see him do it? No I did not.”
Sgt. McKay said none of her colleagues witnessed Fairey posting the images either.
Detroit police also lied to the media when they said the building owners approached the city about the vandalism. Sgt. McKay said her team of investigators approached the building owners and asked them to file complaints.
The arrest is part of Mayor Mike Duggan’s crusade against street art and graffiti. The mayor’s administration also has begun fining building owners whose property was tagged with graffiti.
Police also are targeting a fundraiser for firefighters that included posters of broken fire hydrants.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.