13:06 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Obama ‘Hope’ Artist Shepard Fairey Arrested After Returning From Europe

    Obama ‘Hope’ Artist Shepard Fairey Arrested After Returning From Europe

    © AP Photo/ Phil McCarten
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    Well known street artist Shepard Fairey, the man behind the iconic Obama ‘Hope’ poster, has been arrested in Los Angeles after customs agents saw his open warrant in Detroit for vandalism.

    The artist was in Michigan last month painting a 184-foot-tall mural, a large billboard, and a water tower, all of which he was commissioned to do.  In his free time however, Fairey decided to also beautify 14 different buildings and walls that included two properties owned by the city.

    The uncommissioned art was in the form of large stickers, 12 of the properties were owned by private individuals, and eight of them want to prosecute.

    Fairey was charged with malicious destruction of property over $1,000 and less than $20,000 for the unsanctioned artwork.

    As Fairey returned to his home in Los Angeles following a European trip, he was snatched up at customs and held overnight in a Los Angeles jail while authorities determined if Wayne County wanted to extradite him back to Detroit.

    "Per the county's policy, they don't extradite on lower-level cases like this," Douglas Baker, chief of criminal enforcement for the Detroit Law Department told The Detroit News. 

    After it was determined that he would not be extradited, he was released from the jail.  He is reportedly in talks on when he will return to face the charges.

    If convicted, the world renowned artist could face up to five years in prison for the stickers.  Baker declined to tell the Detroit News if he would be seeking a jail sentence in this particular case, but noted that they have arrested 13 people for graffiti this year and some have gone to jail.

    "Our recommendations are tailored to the offender and other circumstances, but we are not hesitating to recommend jail time, and we have some offenders going to jail," he told the paper.


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