DPW: 'Defund the police' mural on Water Street to be removed due to 'serious traffic safety concerns'

MILWAUKEE -- The "defund the police" street mural along Water Street in downtown Milwaukee will be removed Friday, July 10 due to "serious traffic safety concerns," officials with the Milwaukee Department of Public Works announced Thursday, July 9.

DPW officials noted the street mural "takes up an entire block of the southbound lanes of Water Street and the display covers the street’s traffic control pavement markings," which "provide guidance and information to motorists and are essential for a safe flow of traffic."

Officials added in a news release, "It has also been observed that the paint is very slick when wet and we have observed vehicles having difficulty breaking and stopping when approaching the Wells Street traffic signal. We have observed and/or received complaints that the mural paint surface is problematic for vehicles ranging from bicycles and motorcycles to buses when it rains."

The mural will be removed Friday, officials said, "due to these concerns."

“The message painted on Water Street has been heard loud and clear by policy makers in city government, and the Department of Public Works has no intention to diminish the voices calling for change,” said Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Polenske in the release. “Our concern for unauthorized street art including the current mural on Water Street is solely about safety.”