Sheefy McFly, a well-known and sought-after artist, was painting a mural as part of Detroit’s City Walls project—a beautification effort centered around fighting illegal graffiti and preventing future vandalism—when he was arrested last Wednesday by two Detroit police officers who accused him of vandalism, Detroit Free Press reports.
McFly, legally known as Tashif Turner, was working on a viaduct near 7 Mile Rd. and John R St., the location tagged for the mural. Though he had been working on the mural for several days, at the time of his arrest, the artist didn’t have his city-issued permit on hand at the time of his arrest
“It’s an oxymoron — doing something for the city and being arrested by the city,” McFly told the Free Press.
McFly said he tried to explain what was going on to officers, but more law enforcement showed up, with about “four or five police cars” on site. At this point, even a city official showed up to support McFly and spoke with the police supervisor, but somehow the situation still escalated.
Police spokesperson Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said that officers claimed McFly was uncooperative during the investigation.
In the end, the artist was arrested on an outstanding traffic warrant, as well as resisting and obstructing police.
McFly said he was trying to go back to search his bag for the permit when officers tried to detain him. One officer, he claimed, put her hand on his neck.
“They treated me like a felon even though I was commissioned by the city to do this,” he said, adding that the incident left him feeling “depressed.”
“I felt threatened for my life,” McFly, who is also a musician, added. “I felt like if I really didn’t keep my composure, they would’ve beat my [expletive].”
When all was said and done, McFly spent about 24 hours at Detroit Detention Center in “horrible” conditions, before he was allowed to leave.
In the meantime, according to the Free Press, he is still deciding if he will finish his work.
“I may go back next week, but I need some days to collect myself and figure out how I can be safe. I feel racially profiled and bullied,” he said.
McFly is due in court for the parking ticket warrant on July 3.