Originally Published September 1, 2015
By: Amy Cooper, Detroit Ginger

Malicious destruction of property: Specifically intend to hurt or injure a property. That is what Shepard Fairey has been charged with, but the fact of the matter is, the City of Detroit is trying to make a symbol out of an artist, for the sake of their own agenda against graffiti and mural artists. 

As of 12:50 PM, Channel 4 live streamed his hearing for two felony counts of malicious destruction totaling between $1,000 and $20,000.

Fairey's lawyer, Bradley Friedman, believes that this particular case should be judged in a civil court, not the way that Fairey is being crucified for art that is "not maliciously destroying something."


Judge King already expresses his opinion in a biased fashion in the live stream, as well as comparing Shepard Fairey's art to the Confederate Flag, saying that he could have exhibited the flag, and it would have had the same ruling as his "art," ruling as destruction of property. He also goes on to say that Fairey is "arrogant" for believing that he makes something better by putting his artwork on it.

"He didn't do it by mistake, he didn't do it on permission," says the lawyer for the other side of the table, how his branding is what's driving the popularity of being "illegal work," and how he "boasts" on his tagging. 

The flip side of this, which is believed by a majority of the city, is that the City of Detroit used the resources that should have been applying to the search for murders, rapists, and actual crimes that are still outstanding in Detroit, rather than chasing after a "celebrity artist" who put a poster on a building.

What this comes down to is a city's agenda against illegal art, and making an example based on something that should be handled in civil court between the property owner and Fairey. The judge believes that there's a place for this case in Criminal Court, because he committed a crime, and as of right now, they will reconvene on September 15.