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The Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks is investigating after officials removed murals supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
The five murals were created by a variety of artists who had been granted approval by the city, The Baltimore Sun first reported.
The department described the situation as a “miscommunication,” but also said that it had learned of a staff member suspected of behavior “not reflective of our values.”
The Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks is investigating after park rangers removed Black Lives Matter murals that had been approved and permitted by the city, The Baltimore Sun first reported.
A Baltimore couple had organized a project that included the work of a dozen local artists whose work honored the movement that opposed racial inequality.
After months of seeking permits and approval from the department, the art was displayed last week in the city’s Patterson Park. Two days later, though, employees from the Department of Recreation and Parks removed five 4-by-8-foot murals, the Sun reported. Murals were broken from their wooden frames and thrown into the back of a ranger’s truck, according to the Sun.
The department said in a statement posted on Twitter that the removal was due to a “miscommunication” from a recent change in staffing. When they were looking into the issue, though, officials were made aware of a staff member suspected of problematic behavior.
“In addition to restoring the artwork, it has been brought to our attention that a member of our staff has been suspected of conduct not reflective of our values,” the statement said. “We take such allegations very seriously. All claims will be investigated and addressed.”
—Baltimore Rec & Parks (@RecNParks) July 31, 2020
The Sun reported that it was the same unnamed employee who was responsible for removing the murals.
Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen told the Sun that he has asked the city’s Inspector General to investigate, because of “deeper concerns related to this incident.”
The office of Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming told the paper that office policy prohibited her from confirming whether an investigation was taking place.
One of the artists, Patton Ado, told CBS Baltimore that Black Lives Matter should be a movement that everyone can get behind. He said he felt panicked when he learned the art was being removed.
“The Black Lives Matter movement should matter a whole lot to everybody,” he told the station. “The idea that all lives don’t matter until Black Lives Matter is pretty simple.”
Art honoring black men and women who have been killed by police or others has been displayed throughout Baltimore in recent months.
The displays have been criticized by some who oppose the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality.
The Patterson Park murals aren’t the only displays that have been defaced or torn down in the city, the Sun previously reported.
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