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Street artist Shepard Fairey arraigned in Detroit

Jul 14, 2015

Famed street artist Shepard Fairey was arraigned in a Detroit court today for illegally tagging Detroit buildings.

Fairey came to the city in May after his street art was commissioned for multiple downtown locations. Highlighting his work was an 18-story mural on the side of Bedrock Real Estate Services, a Campus Martius building that belongs to Cleveland Cavaliers owner and businessman Dan Gilbert.

Yet Fairey had other plans for his trip, and he wasn’t shy about them. "I still do stuff on the street without permission," he told the Detroit Free Press. "I'll be doing stuff on the street when I'm in Detroit."

True to his word, Fairey vandalized nine different city buildings. Police responded last month with two charges for malicious destruction of property and a warrant for his arrest. Officials estimate that he caused in the neighborhood of $9,000 in damages.  

Fairey turned himself in to the Detroit Police today, entering a plea of not guilty. His next court date will be a probable cause conference on July 21 followed by a preliminary hearing on July 28. Bond was set at 10% of $75,000, and his release is expected for later today.

Fairey is no stranger to legal trouble. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to one count of defacing property and two counts of wanton destruction of property for street art he did in Boston. Perhaps most famously, he faced a two year legal battle with the Associated Press after they accused him of copyright infringement for the photograph he used as the subject of his iconic "Hope" poster of President Obama.

If Fairey is found guilty of the charges in Detroit, he could face up to five years in prison. 

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