'Defund the Police' mural removed in Milwaukee

NOW: ’Defund the Police’ mural removed in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works crews were out bright and early powerwashing away the ‘Defund the Police’ mural on Friday morning, July 10.

The controversial mural was painted by a group of artists earlier this month outside city hall on Water Street.

Soon after, the word ‘Defund’ was changed to ‘Defend’ by those against it. It was then changed back.

“It’s mixed feelings. Everyone has a right to voice their opinions and there’s some strong opinions on this," said a pedestrian.

Citing serious traffic safety concerns, Milwaukee DPW removed the installation. The department says the display covers pavement markings. They also say the paint is causing problems with vehicles when it rains, because it’s slick.

“No, it wasn’t, because we seen a lot of cars drive by, even when it was wet and we didn’t see nobody slipping and sliding,” said an onlooker.

The mural also wasn’t authorized by the city, unlike the Black Lives Matter mural painted over the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Locust in the Harambee neighborhood. That mural however, only lasted a few days due to the rain and different painting materials.

Community activist Frank Nitty says removing the mural was a waste of resources.

“Obviously, with them fixing the downtown area and ignoring the inner city all the time, we have so many issues in the inner city that are way bigger than the ‘Defund the Police’ mural.”

DPW says they have no intention to diminish the voices calling for change. They had a meeting with the lead artists, who tell CBS 58 they plan to do more art, next time with a permit.

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