- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

NEW YORK — Two artists who put a bust of Edward Snowden on a Revolutionary War memorial were ticketed but not criminally charged and got their confiscated statue back Wednesday, police and their lawyer said.

The 4-foot-tall, 100-pound likeness of the exiled National Security Agency secret-leaker appeared last month on a monument in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park. Parks officials ordered the statue removed within hours.

A police inquiry ended with $50 summonses for being in a park after hours, a noncriminal violation, said attorney Ronald Kuby. He wouldn’t give their names; police, who confirmed the tickets, identified the two as Jeffrey Greenspan and Andrew Tinder.

Efforts to reach them Wednesday evening weren’t immediately successful. But in a statement released anonymously earlier in the day, they said they were thrilled that authorities released the sculpture, which a gallery plans to display within days.

“The goal of this project has always been to help the public have an important national debate about mass surveillance,” they wrote. They said they wanted to provide an alternative view of Snowden, whom they feel the media have vilified.

Snowden is living in exile in Russia after divulging the secret U.S. government collection of phone records, among other intelligence gathering. The fiberglass-reinforced cement rendering of his face was affixed to a monument that honors American captives who died on British prison ships during the Revolutionary War.

Police noted last month that the statue was erected “without permission or authority.”

Kuby called the sculpture’s return a reflection of the city’s “commitment to the arts, even those that are unusual and offbeat.”

The artists have said they’d like to get permission to exhibit the piece legally through a temporary art-in-parks program. The Parks Department said Wednesday it hadn’t received such an application, at least as yet.

In the meantime, the Postmasters gallery has said it wants to display the statute at a show opening Thursday.

Its theme: “Anonymity, no longer an option.”

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