According toTulsa World, chairman of the Tulsa County Republican Party, Bob Jack, sent a request to the city councilor and mayor about the process to create a pro-police “Back the Blue” mural in solidarity of the city’s police department.
In a city council meeting on Wednesday, officials gathered to discuss granting license agreements to permit street paintings and the Black Lives Matter mural was on the agenda, according to Tulsa World.
The artist and organizer of the mural, Ryan Rhoades, along with volunteers didn’t receive approval from the city to execute the painting on the street.
“Never heard from the city. Never for permission, and never for after the fact,” Ryan Rhoades said, according to Tulsa World. “I was like, with us having Black Wall Street here and Juneteenth and Trump coming to town, we just seem like the most likely city to do this next.”
Tulsa City attorney David O’Meilia said during the council meeting that “paintings for city streets are only allowed for safety reasons” and “allowing one group to paint messages on the street means everyone would be able to do so,”KJRH-TVreported.
According toCNN, during the meeting Councilor Connie Dodson referred to regulations from the Federal Highway Administration regarding street paintings, saying they should not be allowed “for safety reasons, federal guideline reasons and city liability reasons” and “that those First Amendment freedoms get expressed another way.”
The city council concluded with the decision for the Black Lives Matter painting to be removed. Rhoades toldFox 23that he is not “surprised by the decision” and that “it served its purpose.”