BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks is investigating one of its own after a park ranger allegedly damaged and removed five Black Lives Matter murals in Patterson Park.
The artists said they want a clear explanation for what the city is calling a miscommunication. They all had permission to display their work in the park.
One of those artists is Patton Ado.
Growing up in Montgomery County, his Hispanic roots date back three generations. His great-grandfather three times over was also a refugee from Syria. He said diversity is important to him and so is Black Lives Matter.
“The Black Lives Matter movement should matter a whole lot to everybody. The idea that all lives don’t matter until Black Lives Matter is pretty simple,” Ado said.
When he got the news that a Baltimore City park ranger was accused of removing his mural, along with others, from Patterson Park, even though the artists had permission to display their work months ago, he was upset.
“I was a little panicked. I think I said, ‘Oh my gosh,’ out loud,” Ado said.
Bonnie Brobst lives nearby. She said she saw the entire incident happen.
“There were two city trucks and park rangers were taking them down and putting them in the truck and we thought we were protecting them from the rain,” Brobst said.
In a statement to WJZ, the parks department said in part, “We take such allegations very seriously. All claims will be investigated and addressed.”
The city met with the artists at Patterson Park on Monday.
“What I don’t want is to lose momentum here. That’s important,” a department representative said.
“I am cautiously optimistic that something truthful will come forward and that something positive will come into fruition from this,” Ado said.
The artists are going back to the drawing board to give a final proposal of monetary damages for the city. That is expected to occur by the end of the week.
The park ranger hasn’t been identified yet, and there are still ongoing talks about the artists being compensated for the damages and having their work be used in future city projects.
The city plans to work with the artists to determine the dollar amount in damages. Other ideas from the artists are a permanent mural and a fund to donate art supplies for underprivileged children.