Artist Sheefy McFly Arrested for Vandalism While Creating Artwork Commissioned by the City of Detroit

Sheefy McFly is a well-known artist and musician who has become highly regarded in recent years. He has a “vivid and fun illustrative style that looks and feels like a hip-hop makeover of Saturday morning cartoons of yore,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

McFly has already done one mural for Detroit for the City Walls program as an homage to local pop culture featuring Cartier glasses and a quote from the late Detroit rapper Blade Icewood.

Then he was hired again through the city’s managing contractor 1xRun, a Detroit-based art publishing house, to make more art on a viaduct near 7 Mile and John R on the city’s northeast side.

That’s the art that McFly was working on Wednesday when he was arrested for vandalism. Ironically, the piece is part of a sweeping, multi-year beautification effort to combat illegal graffiti with city-sanctioned artwork. McFly was commissioned to paint a mural at that viaduct to prevent future vandalism.

The officers didn’t believe McFly when he said that he was working on behalf of Detroit. He had forgotten his city-issued permit that day. As McFly tried to explain, four or five more police cars showed up. Even a city official came to vouch for the artist and spoke with a supervisor in the police department, but that still wasn’t enough.

McFly was arrested for alleged resisting and obstructing police, as well as on an outstanding traffic warrant. He spent 24 hours at the Detroit Detention Center before being released, saying the conditions inside were “horrible.”

“It’s an oxymoron — doing something for the city and being arrested by the city,” McFly told the Detroit Free Press. “I felt threatened for my life. I felt like if I really didn’t keep my composure, they would’ve beat my (expletive).”

McFly also took to Twitter to express his frustrations.

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