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The 50 Biggest Street Art Arrests

Shepard Fairey, Denver and Boston

Date: Denver: 2008. Boston: 2009.

Punishment: Denver: $171 dollars in court fees, $500 bond, six months unsupervised probation. Boston: $2,000 restitution, ban on carrying any postering or graffiti-related items in Boston for two years.

Denver: While Shepard Fairey was in town for the Manifest Hope art show, the Democratic National Convention was stirring up police activity downtown. On a postering mission with several others, Fairey and friends saw several police officers in full riot gear running up the hill. Trying to escape, they were blocked by more police with guns and were quickly arrested.

At his 6 a.m. arraignment, Fairey pleaded guilty to the charge of Interference with Police Authority. This in exchange for having the charge of Posting Unauthorized Posters dropped. He was released on bond/bail, with six months unsupervised probation.

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Boston: "According to Peel magazine's David Combs, Shepard Fairey's 2009 arrest was part of a political argument that had nothing to do with street art whatsoever.

In January 2009, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino had just won a month-long battle to freeze the wages of all Boston city workers for a year--including those of police. Menino was publically photographed with Fairey around the same time, who was in town to prepare for the opening of his 20-year retrospective at the city's Institute of Contemporary Art.

On the opening night of the show, Combs and Fairey were sharing a cab to the ICA when they noticed an unmarked SUV tailing them. When their taxi accidentally missed the turn-off, the SUV prevented them from turning around. Police quickly exited the vehicle and arrested Fairey for incidents of vandalism in Boston.

Combs believes the plan was to arrest Fairey in front of waiting fans and media, thus embarrassing Mayor Menino by association. That plan fell apart however when the taxi missed the turn-off, and Fairey was arrested quietly near the parking lot instead.

In court, Fairey pleaded guilty to three charges of vandalism and was ordered to pay $2,000 to notorious anti-graffiti community group, the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay. He was also banned from carrying stickers, posters, wheat paste, brushes and any other graffiti instruments in Boston for two years.

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