A mural was painted over Monday afternoon after Trenton police expressed concern that the painting, depicting Michael Brown, a Ferguson, Mo., teen who was fatally shot by police in August, sent the wrong message about community and police relations.
The painting depicted Brown’s face with the caption “Sagging pants … is not probable cause.” Will “Kasso” Condry, the artist behind the mural, said he wanted to start a conversation about racial profiling.
The Trenton Downtown Association elected to remove the image after hearing concern from police officers that the mural sends a negative message about the relationship between police and the community.
The mural was painted by artists from the Sage Coalition about two weeks ago on a gate covering the entrance to a vacant storefront on the corner of North Broad and Hanover streets to cover an illegal advertisement for a nearby liquor store.
Condry said he did not come up with the idea to paint Brown’s image, rather, it was a group effort of many artists from Sage reflecting on Brown’s killing, the reactions and protests in Ferguson and their own experience with racial profiling by police.
“We did it knowing that it was going to start some dialogue,” said Condry.
“I thought maybe it would cause dialogue,” said Byron Marshall, who works with Condry and Sage. “It is not us against you.”
Marshall, who goes by the name Black Collar Biz, said the idea behind the painting is to say that racial profiling still happens and to raise awareness of the issue.