Artists and activists seeking to show their support in public places for the police, either anti-abortion or pro-America, have met resistance from local government officials who have allowed messages such as “Black Lives Matters” and “Defund the police,” according to a Washington Times article.
Scott LoBaido is a well-known pro-America artist who made headlines a few weeks ago for hanging from a highway bridge a figure of the New York City mayor wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt holding the decapitated head of the Statue of Liberty.
This time LoBaido painted a blue line on Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island to show his support for the police who, as a result of the Black Lives Matters movement and the call to defund the police force, have been demonized.
But the authorities of the city’s Department of Transportation ordered LoBaido to remove his artwork and in turn he questioned why Mayor De Blasio was able to paint 3 Black Lives Matters murals without any permission but he is not allowed to show his support for the police.
“As an artist, I think it’s beautiful work, but [de Blasio] did not have a permit to do his street art, and that obviously means that I do not need a permit to do mine. Why should he get a pass and not me? Obviously, they singled me out because I’m a conservative-leaning artist and I do support my military and the men and women in blue uniform” complained LoBaido.
Michael Bekesha, lead attorney for Judicial Watch, a conservative activist group that files Freedom of Information Act complaints to investigate alleged misconduct by government officials, said the legal term for that is discrimination of viewpoints.
“ It appears as though cities across the country have recognized street painting as a public forum. And once a government does that, it has to make sure there are processes in place to allow all messages. Cities can’t discriminate based on viewpoint,” explained Bekesha.
Last month, Judicial Watch sued the mayor of D.C. Muriel Bowser because she wouldn’t let Judicial Watch paint the message, “No one is above the law,” near the mayor’s offices.
Bowser herself oversaw the creation of a Black Lives Matters mural on Northwest 16th Street. The next day, activists painted “defund the police” next to it, leaving the message “Black Lives Matters = Defund the Police.
Both murals were painted without a permit.
The attorney general in Washington, D.C. dismissed the Judicial Watch complaint on the grounds that there is no such permit. He also denied that it was discrimination in viewpoints because all the government did was deny a permit to paint a mural “because there is no such permit.”
Ironically, also in D.C. last week, two members of Students for Life in America were arrested for attempting to paint the message “Preborn Black Lives Matter” with chalk on the sidewalk of Planned Parenthood because they did not have a permit to paint a message on the street.
The Ideological Question
A co-founder of Black Lives Matters (BLM) call herself a “trained Marxist” and the movement promotes radical leftist ideas like defund the police.
Women for America First stated in its July 24 lawsuit against Bill de Blasio, “The BLM movement is for all practical purposes affiliated with the Democratic Party, notwithstanding expressions of frustration by BLM activists with the leadership of that party. BLM is unquestionably hostile to the Republican Party and in particular to President Donald J. Trump.”
LoBaido said, “That blue line represents two things: It separates anarchy from civilization, and most important, it memorializes the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending and protecting our community.”
Although authorities deny a political bias toward the left, lawsuits for lack of free speech for conservative voices continue piling up across the United States.