A disgruntled street artist cries says he was "racially profiled and bullied" after he was arrested for working on a mural the city asked him to paint. "I felt threatened for my life," he said.
“It’s an oxymoron,” Detroit street artist Sheefy McFly said after he was arrested for doing a job for the city whose authorities arrested him for it.
McFly was painting a mural after being commissioned by the city and was soon arrested by the Detroit police thinking he was vandalizing the community.
The 29-year-old was in the middle of his work of art at the viaduct near 7 mile and John R as part of the Detroit’s City Walls program when cops approached him and asked for his city-issued permit. When he failed to issue one because he left it at home, he was suspected of illegally vandalizing the property.
Despite McFly’s insistence that he was commissioned by the city, authorities refused to believe him. In fact, things escalated when they decided he was being uncooperative. Several police cars arrived on the scene despite a city official arriving to vouch for McFly’s story. He was soon arrested for resisting the police and was given an outstanding traffic warrant.
“It’s an oxymoron — doing something for the city and being arrested by the city,” McFly said in an interview following his arrest. “They treated me like a felon even though I was commissioned by the city to do this.”
“I felt threatened for my life. I felt like if I really didn’t keep my composure, they would’ve beat my (expletive),” he added.
McFly spent 24 hours at the Detroit Detention Center before he was released. As it was his first time to be arrested, he described the experience in jail as “horrible.”
“We had to sleep on mats. They didn’t clean any of the cells. It felt like animals in a cage.”
After the incident, McFly is thinking twice about continuing with the project.
“I feel racially profiled and bullied,” he said.
It may take a while for the artist to return to the job. He said he needed more time “to collect myself and figure out how I can be safe.”
McFly’s sentiments is shared by many who’ve been victims of racial profiling in the past. While he was arrested for painting while black, another woman got called out for sleeping while black. More recently, a man was arrested because he was hospitalized while black.
These incidences seem to keep happening despite them going viral and shedding more light about the repercussions of racism. Meanwhile, we continue to share these stories in the hope that by doing so, more and more people will be more mindful about the plight of the Black community who are often victims of unnecessary arrests.