Obama ‘Hope’ Poster Artist Arrested for Vandalism

The artist behind President Obama’s iconic “Hope” posters was arrested in Los Angeles last week on vandalism charges in Detroit.

Fairey, whose portraits of Obama became a fixture of the president’s 2008 campaign, was detained at Los Angeles International airport on Monday after returning from a trip to Europe when authorities discovered a warrant had been issued for his arrest in Detroit, according to the Detroit News.

Fairey has been charged with felony malicious destruction of property for allegedly defacing 14 different buildings and walls in Detroit with graffiti, including some city-owned properties. He faces up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines if convicted.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Detroit law enforcement will not extradite Fairey to Michigan. Detroit officials will instead work with the artist’s attorneys to determine when he will return to Detroit to face the vandalism charges.

“If it’s a violent crime, yes, we’re going to pick up,” Detroit police officer Dan Donakowski told the Times. “In terms of graffiti, it’s not as high as a murder or rape or something.”

Fairey has gotten into trouble with the law before: in 2012, the artist settled a suit with the Associated Press, who accused him of using an AP photo as the basis for his famous “Hope” poster. The financial terms of the settlement were undisclosed, but the artist was reportedly sentenced to probation and a fine.

Fairey was also arrested in 2009 in Boston for tagging two buildings with graffiti while in town for the opening of an art exhibit featuring his work.


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