By Associated Press - Friday, September 11, 2020

PHOENIX (AP) - Phoenix officials have denied a request for a “Black Lives Matter” mural in the city after another group sought to create a pro-law enforcement mural in response.

Officials said there could be legal implications if one mural is approved and not the other.

The city had considered launching a pilot program that would allow street murals, which are not currently permitted, after activists proposed a “Black Lives Matter” mural with portraits of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., César Estrada Chávez and U.S. Rep. John Robert Lewis, The Arizona Republic reported.

Former Phoenix Law Enforcement Association President Mark Spencer requested permission for the national conservative group Judicial Watch to place a mural in front of the downtown police headquarters with the statement “No one is above the law,” in all capital letters.

Judicial Watch was hoping the city would give its proposal the same consideration as it was giving the Black Lives Matter project, Spencer said Thursday.

Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher sent similar letters to both groups Wednesday denying the requests because of “overriding concerns with safety, risks and federal guidelines for markings on streets.”

Black Lives Matter organizer Gizette Knight said her group plans to sue the city over the denied request. She argued the city has not proved that street murals pose a safety concern.

Spencer said the city’s decision was “reasonable,” adding that he was a police officer for 25 years and understood the safety issues related.

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