San José: Government Should Not Encourage Violence Against Our Police

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The Office of Cultural Affairs in San José, CA held an art competition titled, “Holding the Moment” and awarded 96 different artworks a $2,500.00 prize each to display the works digitally online and physically at the Mineta San José International Airport.

One of the selections was a piece entitled, “Americana” by Eric Bui featuring a masked person atop a damaged police vehicle featuring either blood stains or red colored broken windows, while holding a distressed upside-down American flag against a red background.

This sparked outrage from neighbors, community leaders, and law enforcement officers nationwide as the government of San José paid an artist for a depiction of violence with taxpayer dollars.  Specifically it portrays, and most would argue supports or incites, violence against our police and law enforcement community nationwide.  Additionally, this art was then placed in an international transportation hub which acts as a conduit to disseminate this anti-police message to the rest of the world.

By signing this petition you are demanding the following:

  1. The work in question is removed from all digital and physical locations that are publicly owned (such as the official San José website).
  2. The City of San José issues a formal apology to both the residents of San José and its law enforcement officers for its lapse in this approval process, placing lives in danger, and misusing taxpayer funds.
  3. The process for choosing art is audited and amended to ensure no future artistic display promotes any violence, discrimination, or places anyone in danger.
  4. The city employee(s), department(s), and body(bodies) responsible for approving and displaying this work are required to attend a minimum eight (8) hour workplace harassment class and police sensitivity training class(es).
  5. The person in the Office of Cultural Affairs who is most responsible for the approval of this work is placed on a minimum two week non-paid administrative leave.

Precedent has been established by our courts that the work in question is "Government Speech" and may be removed without violating the First Amendment due to the nature of the government competition and award process for which it was submitted under (Pulphus v. Ayers 2018).

There is no place for violence in our country regardless of where it originates.  We promote equal respect and equal treatment for all people living and working in the United States.