In Detroit, two street artists appeared in court Wednesday to fight felony charges for allegedly painting the words “Free the Water” and a large black fist on the Highland Park water tower in 2014. Artists Antonio Cosme and William Lucka are facing up to four years in prison on felony charges of malicious destruction of property. Detroit has faced a water crisis in recent years, as the city has cut off running water from tens of thousands of families. Artists Antonio Cosme and William Lucka spoke Wednesday.
Antonio Cosme: “My name is Antonio Cosme, and this is William Lucka. The two of us are facing multiple felonies for allegedly painting 'Free the Water' on the Highland Park water tower in Detroit, Michigan.”
William Lucka: “I’m facing eight additional felony charges. The judge signed over my warrant this morning. I’m supposed to turn myself in at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.”
Antonio Cosme: “The criminalization of artists is part of a larger war on public space. It’s coinciding with a war on public good. And privatization is being implemented on our public schools, on our water, our healthcare.”
The United Nations has condemned Detroit’s ongoing water shutoffs as a violation of international human rights law.