DC mayor Muriel Bowser sued for racial bias over 'Black Lives Matter' mural on street to White House

The suit alleges violations of first and 14th amendments and asked that the 'Black Lives Matter' banner be replaced with three other banners: 'Blue Lives Matter', 'Green Lives Matter' and 'All Lives Matter'


                            DC mayor Muriel Bowser sued for racial bias over 'Black Lives Matter' mural on street to White House
(Getty Images)

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is the subject of a lawsuit that has accused her of showing racial bias after she commissioned a group of artists to paint "Black Lives Matter" on a road leading up to the White House.

Filed on Wednesday, June 10, in the US District Court for the District of Columbia by plaintiffs Rich Penkoski, a self-proclaimed DC street preacher, Chris Servier, a former Judge Advocate General; and Tex Christopher, a DC lobbyist, it said Bowser had violated the First Amendment, as well as the 14th Amendment of the constitution.

She had commissioned "Black Lives Matter" to be painted on the street that leads up to the White House ahead of a planned demonstration last Friday over the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old truck driver who died in the custody of four Minneapolis Police officers.

The letters, which are 35-feet high, came to span two blocks of 16th Street and took up the width of the two-lane road. They were painted by a crew hired by the city's Department of Public Works.

People walk down 16th street after volunteers, with permission from the city, painted "Black Lives Matter" on the street near the White House on June 05, 2020, in Washington, DC. After seven days of protests in DC over the death of George Floyd, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has renamed that section of 16th street "Black Lives Matter Plaza". (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

In their lawsuit, seen by the Daily Mail, Penkoski, Servier, and Christopher claimed Bowder had violated the First Amendment by showing preference to the "Black Lives Matter cult orthodoxy," and also the 14th Amendment because the banner conveyed that black people were the favored race in the city.

They went on to state that the "Black Lives Matter" sign is "a legal weapon against non-observers of the Black Lives Matter religion" before suggesting that it be taken down so three other banners can be painted in their place.

Those banners were: a "Blue Lives Matter" for law enforcement, a "Green Lives Matter" for the National Guard called in by President Donald Trump to quell protests and an "All Lives Matter" banner which they said was "secular" and a "self-evident message that is in the Declaration of Independence itself."

Penkoski, Servier, and Christopher also expressed their displeasure to a corner of Lafayette Square being renamed "Black Lives Matter Plaza" following Trump's ill-timed photo-op last week.

Demonstrators march down Pennsylvania Avenue during a protest against police brutality and racism on June 6, 2020, in Washington, DC. This is the 12th day of protests with people descending on the city to peacefully demonstrate in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Having decided to walk down to the St John's Episcopal Church from the White House through Lafayette Park on Monday, June 1, the president had ordered the National Guard to clear Lafayette Park and its surrounding areas of protesters. Those gathered to speak out against police brutality and racial inequality were then tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets.

Bowser had subsequently announced that a section of the street where the attack on protesters took place had been renamed to Black Lives Matter Plaza. 

"There was a dispute this week about whose street this is," John Falcicchio, Bowser's chief of staff, said in a tweet. "Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear that this is DC's street and to honor demonstrators who (were) peacefully protesting on Monday evening."

Penkoski, Servier, and Christopher suggested that either the name should be changed to something "secular", or that authorities rename another street "Jesus is the answer Plaza."

All three said they are seeking damages for "mental anguish and emotional distress," as well as for "the violation of their constitutional rights."

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