Graffiti artist Sheefy McFly was working on a mural commissioned by the City of Detroit when two police officers, believing he was vandalizing a viaduct at the time, arrested him Wednesday. "When I tried to walk towards my bag" to get the permit the city had issued him, "they tried to act like I was resisting arrest and trying to run," McFly, real name Tashif Turner, tells the Metro Times. "They ran up on me like I'm dealing dope, bro, like I had crack on me and I had a gun in my bag." He adds, to the Detroit Free Press, "I felt like if I really didn’t keep my composure, they would’ve beat my (expletive)." He says he spent about 24 hours at a nearby detention center before being released. Despite the fact that he did have a permit, police said they found him to be uncooperative and plan to send a charge of resisting and obstructing police to the prosecutor's office for further review.
Detroit's City Walls program hires artists to create public art in vandalism-prone areas in an effort to deter graffiti; McFly, a popular street artist, had been hired as part of that program. He says police questioned him when he first started working on the project, but after showing them his permit, they left him alone. On Wednesday, it turns out that he forgot to bring the permit along. It was two new officers who approached him that day and ultimately arrested him. McFly says he tried asking them to contact a City Walls coordinator to confirm his story, but by the time they got a hold of the coordinator, they had discovered a warrant for McFly's arrest stemming from a traffic violation. Police say that, along with the alleged resisting and obstructing, are what got him arrested. (Read more Detroit stories.)