Five Palo Alto police officers are suing the city over a Black Lives Matter mural painted in front of City Hall last summer, saying it contained anti-police images that resulted in harassment and discrimination against law enforcement.
“Law enforcement officers, including 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,” the lawsuit reads.
At issue are two specific items.
The first problem involves the second letter ‘E’ in the 16-letter Black Lives Matter mural, which featured an image of Joanne Chesimard, a convicted and escaped cop-killer also known as Assata Shakur.
5 officers have sued the Silicon Valley city of Palo Alto, saying it allowed the creation of a Black Lives Matter mural with anti-police images that constituted harassment and discrimination against law enforcement. https://t.co/VWhyOu9JlO
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 9, 2021
Palo Alto Officers Sue Over Black Lives Matter Mural
Shakur was named to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list under Barack Obama in 2013.
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She was convicted in the 1973 killing of a New Jersey state trooper, but later escaped from prison and fled to Cuba.
Former President Donald Trump was very outspoken about having her extradited back to the United States during his time in office.
By contrast, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) sent a personal letter to Fidel Castro apologizing for a vote she took demanding Shakur be extradited.
In the letter, she refers to the cop killer as nothing more than “a political activist” who was fleeing “political persecution” and said that Castro was right to grant her “political asylum.”
In 1998 Maxine Waters wrote this letter begging Fidel Castro not to extradite FBI Most Wanted Terrorist Joanne Chesimard aka Assata Shakur.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) January 17, 2019
Aside from featuring a convicted cop killer, the Black Lives Matter mural, according to the officers in the lawsuit, contains a portion of a logo they claim is attributed to the New Black Panthers.
The complaint includes a quote from King Samir Shabazz, former head of the party’s Philadelphia chapter.
In a 2009 National Geographic documentary, Shabazz is quoted as saying: “You want freedom? You going to have to kill some crackers! You going to have to kill some of their babies!”
Apparently @cityofpaloalto openly supports cop killers. It’s the birthplace of Silicon Valley. Will @twitter @jack @Facebook @Google and other social media/tech giants allow them to support murder openly on their platforms? https://t.co/GPv74JSQBb
— David Webb (@davidwebbshow) July 9, 2021
The officers, according to the complaint, reported to their supervisors in the department that the Black Lives Matter mural is “discriminatory and harassing.”
Trump had previously slammed a mural in New York City which represented Black Lives Matter but did not contain the same imagery as the Palo Alto painting as a “symbol of hate.”
The President at the time blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio for slashing the police budget while using taxpayer money to paint the mural.
“Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates [and] disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street,” Trump tweeted. “Spend this money fighting crime instead!”
Reporter Jon Karl: “Americans of all races have protested in all 50 states around that phrase, #BlackLivesMatter and the president is here calling it a symbol of hate?”
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany: “He is talking about the organization…”pic.twitter.com/LHaxkdaYot
— Elma Aksalic (@ElmaAksalic) July 1, 2020
Dr. Ben Carson offered support for the argument that a Black Lives Matter mural is a symbol of hate, asking what the reaction would be if somebody painted a Confederate flag on the streets.
WATCH: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson breaks down the Black Lives Matter movement. pic.twitter.com/LztpUwjbA8
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) July 2, 2020
“The larger question is, when you’re in a public forum, a public square, do you have the right to put on there a political statement?” Carson asked.
“I wonder what people would say if somebody painted a Confederate flag on a public street?”
The complaint filed by the Palo Alto police officers states that the damages they’ve suffered are in excess of $25,000, but does not specify an amount they are seeking from the city.
The mural with the Shakur image was left in place for four months.
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