Activists gathered on a strip of Main Street outside Hamilton City Hall and painted “Defund the Police” in large yellow letters on Thursday. Hours later, the paint was immediately removed by the city.
At least 100 activists arrived at noon on Thursday with signs, banners, chalk, and spray paint. They have been calling for 20 per cent of money given to the Hamilton Police Services to be reallocated to other community services and public safety resources.
— Terra Lightfoot (@terralightfoot) July 23, 2020
Demonstrators holding large banners at each end of the Main Street stretch blocked traffic from entering the area. Other activists started tracing out the text “Defund the Police” and used rollers with yellow paint to finish the large piece of art.
The demonstration happened an hour before a police services board meeting where members received a number of letters asking for money to be spent on different areas of the community.
City cleaners removed the paint Thursday afternoon after the city claimed in a statement that the household paint was slippery and a danger to safe driving conditions.
Many Hamilton Twitter users were calling out Mayor Fred Eisenberger and the city police for the immediacy with which they removed the artwork. The city had began work to remove the paint almost immediately after it was finished.
It reeks of petty, wasteful, selfish attentions that continue to erase prioritization of community concerns-literally-all too common here in Hamilton. Whoever ordered/approved this unnecessary washing/police spectacle should have to explain this. https://t.co/d8SjmyVuNl
— Ameil J. Joseph Ph.D. (he/him) (@ajesusjoseph) July 23, 2020
By the end of Thursday, city workers had completely cleaned the paint off the road and the police launched an investigation into who made the painting outside City Hall.
Police Chief Frank Bergen said that Hamilton Police are conducting an investigation into the painting citing it as mischief to public property.
Hamilton Police are also looking into where and how they could use some of the budget differently throughout the community; although members of the police board have been outspoken that they think it’s a bad idea.