Monday, August 11, 2008

TATS Cru sues over mural removal in NYC

Another shameful moment for Rev. Al Sharpton.

Only unpopular speech needs free-speech protections. This legally done mural on private property was censored by people who didn't agree with it. And that's just not the way we do things in the USA.

The "Stop Snitchin'" mural, painted on the side of an East Harlem bodega with the permission of the building's owner in 2006, featured a rat with a noose around its neck and the phrase that police say has left many of the city's crimes unsolved.

In July, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the Rev. Al Sharpton and others painted over the mural and invited the media to watch, charging that the mural hampers the justice system and promotes violence.

The Hunts Point-based Tats Cru, which has turned its street graffiti into a worldwide commercial enterprise, says the city's action has violated its right to free speech.

Stacey Richman, the group's lawyer, says city officials violated federal defamation and slander laws by painting over the mural.
"If you or I or anyone else did this, we would be arrested for criminal mischief," Richman said. "It was not about endorsing a negative connotation. It was about getting discussion going."

The mural destruction mob claimed the owner said they could erase it. TATS representatives say the owner was threatened with fines if he did not agree. Perhaps they will get another demonstration of the Streisand Effect for their trouble.

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