Detroit police arrest artist hired by city to paint murals

Mistaken for a vandal, a local artist hired by the city of Detroit to create works of art was arrested on the job.

DETROIT – Mistaken for a vandal, a local artist hired by the city of Detroit to create works of art was arrested on the job.

The orange barrels on Seven Mile Road are not responsible for the slowdown in traffic this weekend. Instead, people are captivated by the vibrant artwork on the walls.

"I like to use bold colors," said Tashif "Sheefy McFly" Turner. "I like to use bold lines just so it can pop and strike you."

Turner said his art is inspired by music and he wanted to make his mural feel like a dance move. He was hired by the city of Detroit as part of a beautification project to deter vandalism.

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Police in the area mistakenly thought his artwork was vandalism.

"It was a few people from the neighborhood watching," Turner said. "I guess when the cops pulled up, they thought we were a gang or something."

Turner said he told them he works for the city, but he didn't have his permit at the time.

"The two police ladies, they both grabbed me by my wrists and held my wrists down," Turner said. "One lady went for my neck."

He was arrested and taken to jail. Turner said he was detained for about 24 hours.

"It was really a harsh reality, and it felt crazy to actually be in jail doing something for the city by the city," Turner said.

Authorities said Turner is facing charges of resisting arrest and obstructing police. 

"I just want to move forward and keep making art," Turner said.

A representative with the Detroit Police Department said Turner has done previous murals for the city and that he should have known to have his permit with him.

According to authorities, Turner was originally investigated for felony painting of an overpass. Removal of grafiti can cost the city about $10,000 and they said police take vandalism very seriously because of it. Turner is not being charged with anything relating to the mural -- the charges are connected to how police said Turner behaved during the investigation. 

About the Authors:

Koco joined the Local 4 News team in September of 2016. She was born and raised in Metro Detroit, attended Central Michigan University, and previously worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.