Denver police have come out against a mural — deemed hate art — depicting an officer dressed in a Ku Klux Klan hood and aiming a gun at a Black teen.
The controversial mural shows the two in front of an American flag, which is torn apart and reveals the Confederate battle flag underneath.
The mural — created by a student at the Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy — is currently displayed at Wellington Webb Municipal Office Building in Denver. Reports from Denver’s 9 News say the piece was part of an art show mounted by the Denver Public Schools system.
Local police unions denounced the art in a recent statement:
“Colorado chapters and its members are highly insulted regarding the public display of a piece of hate art from a DPS student that is currently on display in the Webb building,” the Latino officers’ group said in a statement. “It is an insult to the 2,400 DPD and DSD Officers and deputies who risk their lives each day for the public, which includes DPS teachers and students.”
According to Westworld and Raw Story, the young student’s art was inspired by 2014 Black Lives Matter protest art with a similar premise and style, Michael D’Antuono’s “A Tale of Two Hoodies.”
Both pieces feature the same event, but the Denver mural depicts a Black teen holding his hands up, while the 2014 piece shows a Black teen handing the cop a bag of Skittles.
“I’m greatly concerned about how this painting portrays the police,” said Police Chief Robert White. “I look forward to having a conversation with the student and her parents.”
The painting will be taken down, according to school officials. Also, Denver officials planned to have a meeting with the young artist and her mother, Police Chief White and DPS Acting Superintendent Susana Cordova, but the meeting was canceled due to poor weather.