NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The area around City Hall has a much different look these days, between a protest encampment set up outside for weeks and graffiti scrawled across several buildings.

CBS2’s Andrea Grymes asked what Mayor Bill de Blasio is doing about it.

Some say it’s freedom of expression. To others, it’s a blight reminiscent of 1980’s New York, with the added element of death threats against police.

Graffiti is everywhere, covering historic and once-pristine buildings near City Hall, like the David Dinkins Municipal Building and the Surrogate’s Court.

There are messages like “Cancel Rent,” and “No Justice, No Peace,” but many others must be blurred for television. Those include curse words, plus phrases like “Kill All Cops.”

“It makes me sad. I don’t want to defund the police. I support the police and I think it does need reform, for sure,” said Sheila Rose of Long Island.

RELATED STORY: New York City Lawmakers Approve $1 Billion Cut From NYPD Budget; Protesters Say It Still Falls Short

“I’m not a huge fan of graffiti. I obviously support the movement, but I think that these buildings have historical significance that may or may not have anything to do with this,” said Zlata Berman, a Lower East Side resident.

CBS2 showed the graffiti on June 30, when protesters clashed with police ahead of the city budget vote.

The mayor denounced it then, and again on Friday.

“Graffiti is never acceptable. It will be addressed. Everything has to be done the right way at the right time,” said de Blasio.

The graffiti controversy comes in addition to the encampment, which initially started as a protest during the budget negotiations.

A man known as Professor Kannon from The Bronx said he’s slept outside City Hall nearly every night, demanding the city make many changes, including defunding the police. He said graffiti is part of the movement.

“Cops are killing our people, so why shouldn’t the people be angry and say kill all cops? It’s the freedom of expression. It’s letting you know how angry and upset the people are,” he told CBS2.


A court spokesperson said New York City is responsible for maintaining and repairing the landmark Surrogate’s Court building. The spokesperson said they’ve requested that they clean the graffiti from the facade on numerous occasions and are waiting on the city to take action.


Leave a Reply