NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Park advocates are demanding the NYPD return a statue of Edward Snowden that was confiscated from a Brooklyn park last week.
Last Monday, the massive bust of the NSA whistleblower was illicitly erected on one of the four columns of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene. It was covered and taken down by the city hours later.
NYC Parks Advocates president Geoffrey Croft said the artists want to submit an application to legally exhibit the sculpture through the Parks Department’s “Art in the Parks” initiative.
“‘Art in Parks’ has been a long, long, long held tradition and having the city seize a work like this simply just doesn’t make sense,” Croft told 1010 WINS. “We feel it’s censorship and it sends the wrong message.”
The application process could take months, and in the meantime, a Manhattan gallery has agreed to temporarily display the sculpture, 1010 WINS reported.
“Regardless of how you feel about the work or what it represents, our freedoms and freedom of speech are based on these values of supporting speech that we don’t necessarily agree but there are many people who do agree with this,” Croft said.
Croft and attorney Ron Kuby have sent a letter to the NYPD demanding the artwork be handed over.
“The letter basically states that they don’t have a right to legally seize the artists’ property and they are demanding that the bust be returned immediately,” Croft said.
In a statement, the artists said the statue was meant to be a “gift to the city.”
“Its goal was to inspire thought and discussion over what ideals we cherish as Americans, and how these values determine who our heroes are,” the artists said. “Significant time, artistry and financial resources were poured into this statute to create a piece worthy of public display. As the artists behind this work, we hope New York City will release the statue so it may continue to spark healthy conversations about issues central to our freedoms.”
The sculpture weighs 100 pounds and is made of a plaster-like substance called hydrocal, according to a post on AnimalNewYork.com. It took about six months and thousands of dollars to produce the bust, according to the report.
The artists called the bust “Prison Ship Martyrs Monument 2.0.”
The original Prison Ship’s Martyrs Monument commemorates more than 11,500 men and women who died as captives aboard British prison ships during the Revolutionary War.