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A Black Lives Matter mural is set to be removed in Tulsa after the city received a request for a pro-police painting

INSIDER logoINSIDER 4 days ago insider@insider.com (Taylor Ardrey)
a group of people riding skis on a snowy road: People gather for a Juneteenth rally in Tulsa, Okla., Friday, June 19, 2020. Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure all enslaved people be freed, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki © AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki People gather for a Juneteenth rally in Tulsa, Okla., Friday, June 19, 2020. Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure all enslaved people be freed, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
  • Tulsa City Council decided to remove the Black Lives Matter painting located in the Greenwood District after the mural was not granted city approval.
  • Tulsa World reported that the painter and organizer of the mural, Ryan Rhoades, did not get city approval for the street painting.
  • "Never heard from the city. Never for permission, and never for after the fact, nothing," said Ryan Rhoades, Tulsa World reported. "I was like, with us having Black Wall Street here and Juneteenth and Trump coming to town, we just seem like the most likely city to do this next."
  • KJRH-TV reported that during the council meeting, Tulsa City attorney David O'Meilia said that "paintings for city streets are only allowed for safety reasons" and "allowing one group to paint messages on the street means everyone would be able to do so."
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Tulsa, Oklahoma city council set to remove Black Lives Matter street mural after failing to receive city permission. 

The Black Lives Matter mural in Tulsa was painted in the Greenwood District, known as Black Wall Street,  by local artists to commemorate Juneteenth, the anniversary of Texas freeing slaves in 1865. Black Lives Matter paintings have appeared in major cities across the country after the death of George Floyd. 

According to Tulsa World, chairman of the Tulsa County Republican Party, Bob Jack, sent a request to the city councilor and mayor about the process to create a pro-police "Back the Blue" mural in solidarity of the city's police department.

In a city council meeting on Wednesday, officials gathered to discuss granting license agreements to permit street paintings and the Black Lives Matter mural was on the agenda, according to Tulsa World.

 The artist and organizer of the mural, Ryan Rhoades, along with volunteers didn't receive approval from the city to execute the painting on the street.

"Never heard from the city. Never for permission, and never for after the fact," Ryan Rhoades said, according to Tulsa World. "I was like, with us having Black Wall Street here and Juneteenth and Trump coming to town, we just seem like the most likely city to do this next."

Tulsa City attorney David O'Meilia said during the council meeting that "paintings for city streets are only allowed for safety reasons" and "allowing one group to paint messages on the street means everyone would be able to do so," KJRH-TV reported.

According to CNN, during the meeting Councilor Connie Dodson referred to regulations from the Federal Highway Administration regarding street paintings, saying they should not be allowed "for safety reasons, federal guideline reasons and city liability reasons" and "that those First Amendment freedoms get expressed another way."

The city council concluded with the decision for the Black Lives Matter painting to be removed. Rhoades told Fox 23 that he is not "surprised by the decision" and that "it served its purpose."

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