Police Arrest Shepard Fairey in Los Angeles Over Outstanding Detroit Warrant

Shepard Fairey has been charged with two counts of malicious destruction of property. Photo: Rob Widdis via Detroit Free Press

Graffiti artist Shepard Fairey, who was recently charged with a felony after he reportedly vandalized several buildings during his stay in Detroit, was arrested earlier this week in Los Angeles, according to the Detroit News.

Last month, Fairey, 45, known for his iconic Obama “Hope” posters, was charged with two counts of malicious destruction of property after an arrest warrant was filed in Detroit.

The artist was commissioned to paint a 184-foot by 60-foot mural at One Campus Martius, a public park, and he openly told the press he planned on creating illegal works during his visit. Around this time, several “Obey” logos and murals were seen in the city’s downtown area.

Graffitti art by Shepard Fairey on the side of a vacant building on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit. Photo: John T. Greilick / Detroit News

Graffitti art by Shepard Fairey on the side of a vacant building on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit.
Photo: Courtesy of John T. Greilick / Detroit News.

On Monday, customs agents at the Los Angeles Airport intercepted the street artist as he returned home from a European trip, according to Douglas Baker, Detroit Law Department’s chief of criminal enforcement, the Detroit News reports.

The artist recently finished installing his largest exhibition to date at CAC Málaga in Spain.

“Our warrant was evidently discovered as he went through customs, and he was placed under arrest,” Baker said in a statement.

Fairey spent the night in a Los Angeles jail while the police determined what to do with the street artist.

Luckily for Fairey, “Per the county’s policy, they don’t extradite on lower-level cases like this,” Baker said. The artist was released, and Fairey will have to return to Detroit to face charges at a future date.

Director of Fairey’s Obey Giant Art firm, Victoria Yamish, wrote in an email to the Detroit News that the artist, who once described the Detroit police’s attempt to arrest him as “hilarious,” is “not available and has no comment at this time.”

After being confronted by the Los Angeles authorities, will Fairey change his mind about his adopted city?

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