Police officers sue California city over mural depicting convicted law enforcement killer
Category: News & PoliticsVia: texan1211 • 3 weeks ago • 7 comments
By: Jake Dima (MSN)
Five California police officers sued the city of Palo Alto after officials commissioned a mural featuring a convicted law enforcement killer.
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In June 2020, authorities approved 16 paintings that spelled out "Black Lives Matter" in a 245-foot-long display, according to a lawsuit filed in a superior court. The letter "E" portion of the mural featured Joanne Chesimard, better known as Assata Shakur, who was convicted in 1977 for the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster before she escaped confinement and fled to Cuba for refuge.
The FBI classifies her as a most-wanted terrorist.
The mural included an inscription from the New Black Panther Party, which the Southern Poverty Law Center described as a "virulently racist and antisemitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers."
The five officers, all of whom serve in the Palo Alto area, "were forced to physically pass and confront the Mural and its offensive, discriminatory and harassing iconography every time they entered" their department headquarters, according to the suit.
Police complaints to city officials were not heeded, it alleged.
"Defendants created and allowed to exist the aforementioned discriminatory and harassing work environment," the lawsuit read. "Not only did the defendants allow the harassing and discriminatory iconography to exist in the workplace, but they also sanctioned, approved, encouraged, and paid for it."
The officers' pleas to higher-ups were met with "retaliation" of their careers, including "losses in earnings and other employment benefits," according to the suit.
"Plaintiff's careers have been materially and adversely affected, and irreparably harmed and damaged by the conduct of the defendants," it continued.
The officers are seeking monetary damages, although it's not known how much.
The National Police Association, a prominent coalition of police unions, commenced a petition in July to remove the mural due to its depiction of Shakur.
"If it is not possible to imagine putting a 17' tall mural of nurse killer Richard Speck in front of a hospital or putting a 17' tall mural of Dan White, who assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, in front of a mayor's house, the atrocity of the celebration of a fugitive convicted cop killer in front of Palo Alto's City Hall is equally reprehensible," the group wrote at the time. "For law enforcement required to enter the building is there any description other than a hostile work environment?"
The Palo Alto Police Department, the National Police Association, and the city of Palo Alto did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.
Tags:News, California, Black Lives Matter, Police, Law Enforcement
Original Author:Jake Dima
Original Location:Police officers sue California city over mural depicting convicted law enforcement killer