Thanks to widespread community support and media coverage, the prosecution agreed to negotiate with Lucka and Antonio. Rather than going to trial this morning, they hammered out an arrangement for 1 year of nonreporting probation and 120 hours of community service each.
But funds are still needed
The Circuit Court is charging Lucka and Antonio fees of nearly one thousand dollars apiece. Such legal financial obligations are routinely used to criminalize poverty and bury low-income Detroiters under ever-growing mountains of debt.
PLEASE DONATE to help ensure that they don’t face even more severe punishments for failure to pay. We can finally end this case together!
Robert Mullen, the artists’ defense attorney, says the case of Cosme and Lucka is about more than just graffiti. “This is not about justice,” he says. “I’m not saying that tagging property that you don’t own isn’t criminal in some sense, but this water tower case is not about crime; it’s about politics.”
Check out the latest copy of the Metrotimes to read the full article!
Artists Face Felonies, Jail & Political Repression
Water Activists, Artists & Community Demand Charges Be Dropped
Friday September 23rd
Frank Murphy Hall of Justice – 1441 St Antoine St, Detroit, Michigan 48226
Contact: Antonio Cosme – 313.207.2076 – firstname.lastname@example.org
David Mitchell – 517.242.3501 – email@example.com
Detroit, MI – Local artists William Lucka and Antonio Cosme are in court this Friday to fight felony charges for allegedly painting the words “Free the Water” and a large black fist on the Highland Park water tower in 2014. Water activists, artists and community members will be holding a press conference at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice to call for the charges to be dropped.
“Why is the Duggan administration criminalizing art with a message, while neglecting our crumbling schools or water shut-off crisis?, ” asks Alicia, a supporter.
In June, well known artist Shepard Fairey had his own charges in connection to graffiti dropped (1). Three white Grosse Pointe teens were given community service in August for graffiti downtown (2). Meanwhile, young artists of color from Detroit are being aggressively pursued on orders from Mayor Duggan’s administration. The General Assignment Unit of the DPD (Formerly called the Copper Theft Task Force), the Graffiti Task Force & General Services Department for the City of Detroit are all collaborating to aggressively pursue charges against graffiti artists. This takes work, time and money that would be better used to address Detroit’s real problems.
“It’s disgusting, police and the city have real issues to face but are spending time and money on distractions like targeting artists.” says Ayana, a Detroit resident.
Next Friday, September 23, is the final pre-trial conference for Lucka & Antonio. Here’s how you can help:
8:00 AM – Gather at the steps of the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice
8:30 AM – Free the Water press conference begins
9:00 AM – Go into the courtroom and/or hold banners outside the courthouse
Lucka & Antonio have been in and out of court since March 22. Two lower courts passed the case forward, then offered intolerable settlements, asking them to take the felony charge or spend time in jail. Join them in fighting back against political repression and Duggan’s war on public space.
Hit the courthouse steps on Friday, September 23!
The #ArtIsNotACrime exhibition held on Saturday, August 13 was a great success! Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the brilliant artwork of William Lucka, talk about the criminalization of art, enjoy DJ music and good community in the ONE MILE space, and raise awareness about the fight for clean and affordable/free water in Detroit and beyond. The event raised $2,000 in donations for Lucka and Antonio’s legal fees.
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If you didn’t get a chance to make this lively evening, Lucka’s work will be on display at the Bottomline Coffee House (4474 3rd Street, Detroit MI 48201) during the month of September.
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The opening reception is Thursday September 1 6:00 -9:00 pm.
Prints will be available for sale.
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Many thanks to Young Nation via Inside Southwest Detroit, for photography.
Lucka and Antonio had court this morning.
Two dates were set: the final conference will be on September 23, and the trial is set to begin on October 24.
Last week the prosecution brought 8 additional felony destruction of property charges against Lucka for other alleged street art. He will be in and out of court on those charges in the coming weeks.
Lucka and Antonio’s goals are to stay out of jail and avoid felonies on their records. They are feeling good about working with their new lawyer, Robert Mullen.
Lucka was arraigned at 10:30 a.m., and the bond was set at $3500. After a two-hour wait at the 36th District Court, Antonio paid Lucka’s bail — 10 percent, or $350 — and headed there with supporters to wait for his release.
Lucka was released at the tail end of the afternoon, and shared dinner outdoors with a small crew before heading home to sleep.