Student’s art referencing police brutality pulled from exhibit

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Photo nopd art

Photo was taken by Chris Jones of a student's artwork.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - A New Orleans community is divided all over a piece of art created by a suburban high school student.

The 17-year-old submitted a painting for a weekend art exhibit at Oakwood Center which depicted police brutality and abuse of power.

The poster size image features a police officer gripping a baton in the foreground and hands up black figures in the background with the words, “Join the force and get away with murder."

School officials removed the painting from the exhibit after getting several complaints.

“Who needs to hear that? It just seems so disrespectful,” says Alan Gutierrez. “I feel bad for any police that have to see that. And I feel bad for the police in his community.”

Chris Jones saw the painting at the exhibit and was so outraged he took a picture. He wrote on WGNO’s Facebook page, “This is disgusting, and I challenge anyone who wants to call this art.”

Jones's photo has gone viral.

But artists in the French Quarter say the student's message needs to be heard.

“The shock factor is the fact that he said it so boldly,” says French Quarter artist Danny DeLancey. “He made a bold statement at seventeen years old. A lot of people don’t have the courage to do that.”

“Let’s say he’s in an environment where that’s what he’s being exposed to,” says DeLancey. “And that’s his opinion. I don’t think anyone should hush him.”

“Us as artists, we can create whatever we feel needs to be heard,” says Becca Bryant who points to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution for guidance. “It’s the same thing as saying it but it’s on a canvas.”

Jefferson Parish councilman Chris Roberts took to Facebook writing, "If we continue to label an entire profession with such hatred and ridicule then this entire nation will end up like NOPD struggling to fill its force to protect their community.”

“It’s a shame,” says Gutierrez. “Because there’s a lot of great police out there. He’s just a kid repeating stuff that he’s hearing on the internet.”

“Maybe that’s a message to the society we live in that something’s not right,” says DeLancey.


  • Bob

    When are these folks going to stop with the Hands up and M brown BS. I find it repulsive that these folks would idolize a proven criminal. Then again these are the same people who threatened their neighbors to not tell the truth.
    This kid was not “brave/bold”. What is truly sad is that his parents raised him to treat all police as the enemy- period. Especially if they are white. They trained their kids from day one to be racists and that it is ok to commit violence on whites and cops. Pathetic.

  • NOPD Finest

    It is art. People have the right to express themselves as they see fit. Some people may feel it’s in bad taste and that is your opinion and thanks to our laws you have the right to express that opinion. Yes it is art because art is to be thought provoking and sometimes controversial.

  • Ken Head

    Councilman Roberts, who represents the problem rather than the solution, is incorrect about the role of police. They do not protect the community. At least, that is not their primary obligation. Their primary obligation is to protect and serve the dictates of the political class. If legislature passes a statute which requires the harm of citizens who have done nothing to harm anyone else, then the police will do that harm in the name of “the law” despite the immorality of it. The secondary obligation of police is “officer safety.” A distant third is protecting citizens.

  • Janna Maria

    This kid has a point and he is expressing himself through art. Shame on the people that pulled the painting because they disagree with the content. Police ARE getting away with murder.

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