Five officers recently sued the city of Palo Alto, claiming it permitted a Black Lives Matter mural depicting anti-police images representing harassment and discrimination against law enforcement.
The mural was painted in June 2020 in the road across from City Hall after George Floyd’s death and was to remain for up to a year. However, it was gone by November, the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday.
One of the images was Joanne Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, who was convicted in the 1973 killing of a New Jersey state trooper, the lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court said.
The lawsuit continued:
In 1979, While serving a life sentence for the murder, Shakur escaped from prison and ended up in Cuba where she now has refuge and where the Cuban government refuses to extradite her to the United States. As a result of her conviction and subsequent prison escape, Shakur was placed on the FBI’s Top Ten List of Most Wanted Domestic Terrorists.
Further, the Mural included a portion of the logo attributed to the New Black Panthers, which is identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (‘SPLC’) as a hate group.
“Law enforcement officers, including Plaintiffs, were forced to physically pass and confront the Mural and its offensive, discriminatory, and harassing iconography every time they entered the Palo Alto Police Department,” the lawsuit stated.
The officers told officials the mural violated the state Fair Employment and Housing Act, but the city “ratified the conduct and insisted that it remain and persist,” the lawsuit read.
In July of last year, the National Police Association demanded the mural be removed, calling it an “atrocity” to celebrate a convicted cop killer outside City Hall.
KPIX reported on the mural following its installment in 2020:
Meanwhile, an Indiana University department referred to Shakur as a “social activist” on social media and encouraged students to read her book, Breitbart News reported in January.
“This book is an autobiography of Assata Shakur, social activist and former member of the Black Liberation Army, as well as the godmother of Tupac Shakur,” the post read.
The case is Figueroa vs. City of Palo Alto No. 21-cv-383740 in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, California.