BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A “miscommunication” within Baltimore’s parks and recreation department led to the temporary removal of Black Lives Matter artwork at Patterson Park despite the project having city approval, the department said Friday.
On Twitter, city councilman Zeke Cohen said park rangers removed the art installation Friday morning.
“They were on their way to the dump when a neighbor reached out. I called Director Reginald Moore. They were returned and reinstalled in the park,” Cohen wrote.
This morning Park Rangers decided to remove a beautiful, permitted Black Lives Matter art installation in Patterson Park.
They were on their way to the dump when a neighbor reached out. I called Director Reginald Moore. They were returned and reinstalled in the park. pic.twitter.com/EuZZDf8kkR
— Zeke Cohen (@Zeke_Cohen) July 31, 2020
In a statement, the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks Department said the artwork was reinstalled within an hour, attributing its removal to miscommunication:
“Months ago, community members and artists brought an opportunity to BCRP for a Black Lives Matter art installation to be featured in Patterson Park. BCRP expressed our excitement to welcome such a relevant and thoughtful project to one of our most prominent parks. We granted the permit and looked forward to the final installation. Unfortunately, due to a recent change in staff, a miscommunication occurred resulting in the removal of some of the artwork. Due to the diligence of a community member, this was brought to our attention and the pieces were restored within the hour.”
“Additionally, diversity and equality are of the upmost [sic] importance to our agency, that fact is reflective in our leadership, our staff and those that we serve. In addition to restoring the artwork, it has also been brought to our attention that a member of our staff has been suspected of conduct not reflective of our values. We take such allegations very seriously. All claims will be investigated and addressed.”
Cohen later tweeted he referred the issue to the city’s inspector general for review.
City Council President and Democratic mayoral nominee Brandon Scott also weighed in on Twitter.
Someone notified me of the signs being removed this morning. I spoke with Director Moore, who said that any removed would be put back. I wholeheartedly support their investigation into any allegations of racial bias and stand by their decision. https://t.co/AZAATfsEGy
— Brandon M. Scott (@CouncilPresBMS) July 31, 2020
“Someone notified me of the signs being removed this morning. I spoke with Director Moore, who said that any removed would be put back. I wholeheartedly support their investigation into any allegations of racial bias and stand by their decision,” he wrote.
Last month, a Black Lives Matter mural was painted on Linwood Avenue near the park.