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The mural, which included the word "murderers" painted above several tombstones and coffins with epitaph names that included the NYPD, the Environmental Protection Agency and global corporations including Halliburton and Monsanto
"I can't confront them, because I don't want problems," New Edition Cleaners owner Marina Curet, who has owned the business for five years
"They were accusing those kids of conspiring against the government and that it was bad for the neighborhood," said Curet's daughter Flora Curet, 30. "They're just expressing themselves."
"Isn't great art supposed to be controversial?" said Ian Lang, 48, a Hudson Heights resident, as a he snapped a picture of the mural before the police painted over it.
Artist Gina Cruzco also wrote on Facebook, "I was stunned and impressed when I first saw the mural. Shame on those who can't tolerate the truth."
"And was the message negative? It certainly was forceful but negative? How about opinionated. I painted the wall to communicate my feelings in light of the continued violence and injustice created against all living things by the people and corporations that I mentioned in the mural. There are hundreds if not thousands of others that could be included.... Sometimes it just takes a small act like this to know where we stand as a community in the eyes of the authorities."
The New York Civil Liberties Union, which has had more than its fair share of legal confrontations with the NYPD, gave a heated assessment of the situation. "I'm appalled," NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman said to PIX11 News. "The police do not have the right to censor material they don't agree with. This is a violation of the First Amendment."