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.
Before dawn this morning, Lucka turned himself in at Mound road related to the eight felony charges that were announced Wednesday in court. He had supporters with him and will be arraigned via video conference at 36th District Court this afternoon. We are hopeful that by this afternoon, following the arraignment, a bail amount will be set and will be taking every step possible to get him out today.
DONATE! We are going to need lots of funds for bail and legal fees. Please contribute generously, now, and encourage others to do so. Click on GIVE NOW to donate.
SUPPORT! Part of turning himself in very early this morning is to be in and out today, and thus avoid being held over the weekend. If it looks like Lucka will not get out today or tonight, stay tuned for details. A growing idea is if he is held until tomorrow, then we should try and have a presence at Mound Road on Friday to move things along. The details need to be sorted out, but stay tuned for a possible jail solidarity action on Friday in the event that he is not out today. When he does get released, he would very much appreciate dates, dark chocolate, salad, coffee, and cigarettes.
STAY TUNED! We’ll be putting out further updates today. You can also “like” (and share) our new Facebook page, www.facebook.com/freethewater313, for updates as well.
Roughly 40 people showed up this morning at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice (sic) to lend solidarity, inside and outside the courthouse.
Lucka and Antonio have a new lawyer, although he was unable to be in court with them today because he had to be in court for another client. To the best of our understanding, the lawyer needs to file an appearance and then needs to be in touch with the court by next Wednesday, July 20 at 9 a.m.
Depending on the appearance that the lawyer will file, we may need to be back at court on July 20 at 9 a.m. Stay tuned.
MAJOR DEVELOPMENT: Yesterday, on Tuesday, July 12, eight felony charges were filed against Lucka and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Initially today in court, the prosecutor wanted to take Lucka immediately into custody. Due to his lawyer not being there, though, the judge delayed that from happening, but now Lucka has to turn himself in at Mound Road either tomorrow (Thursday) or Friday morning. He is consulting with his lawyer about which day to do it. The idea would be that if he goes early enough (4 a.m.), then he would likely go before a judge that day and have the possibility of being released on bail the same day. Lucka will let us know what he decides, and we’ll update you as soon as possible.
PLEASE DONATE: We are in immediate need of funds in case a significant bail is set this week for Lucka. Please donate generously and encourage others to do so. We passed the hat at our court support today and raised about $320, but that’s just a start!
SIGN UP: If you haven’t done so already, sign up for email announcements, and donate to the funding page to help with bail money and legal fees. Please share this new Web site with friends and via social media!