The New York Police Department's decision to paint over a mural that cast the agency as "murderers" has some residents in the Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood and the New York Civil Liberties Union accusing authorities of violating an artist's right to free speech.
Ket, who said that a recent rash of police shootings inspired him to paint the mural, had gotten permission from New Edition Cleaners owner Marina Curet to put the artwork on the side of her business. Curet said that she has allowed artists to paint there for four years.
But he certainly didn't have the blessing of the local 34th Precinct, a fact made crystal clear by actions taken by the agency in response to his artwork.
Two plainclothes officers showed up at the store with buckets of paint on Tuesday and covered the inflammatory mural. DNAinfo quoted police sources as saying that the 34th Precinct decided to take action after getting complaints from residents.
But while some may not approve of the mural's message, many see its removal as a violation of free speech.
"We shouldn't be as concerned with the subject matter as we should be with the fact of the matter that the police abused their authority and basically bullied people to censor art," Inwood resident Richard Herrera wrote on Facebook, according to DNAInfo.com.
The New York Civil Liberties Union also weighed in on the matter, saying that the officers' actions smacked of censorship.
"Freedom of political speech is a fundamental American right," said the group's executive director, Donna Lieberman. "The police don't have the right to censor material they don't agree with. That flies in the face of the First Amendment."
Ket said that the building's landlord has prohibited him from writing "censorship" on the paint that now covers the mural, DNAinfo.com reported.
Alan Ket, Graffiti Artist, Says His 'Murderers' Mural Was Censored by NYPD
We've seen our fair share of wild and wacky homes, but these buildings take the crazy cake! We were on the hunt to outdo our previous efforts to bring you the wildest structures out there, and we believe we've succeeded! From off-the-wall public buildings to unimaginable homes, the buildings we've dug up in this gallery will truly make you think outside the box. Click through!
Feeling a little woozy when you look at this building? Known in Poland as the Krzywy Domek -- which translates to "crooked house" -- it's part of a shopping center. It was designed by architecture firm Szotynscy & Zaleski, which drew inspiration from fairy tale illustrations.
A French postman named Ferdinand Cheval spent 30 years building this outrageous home, known as Le Palais Idéal (Ideal Palace). He would pick up stones on his daily mail rounds to build the structure. Cheval's masterpiece draws on many different styles from Christianity to Hinduism.
Yes, that's an upside down house you're looking at -- sort of. Wonderworks is a family amusement attraction in Pigeon Forge that has all kinds of cool things inside, such as a hurricane and earthquake simulator. All the while, you walk through a structure built upside down. There are other Wonderworks exhibits throughout the country.
Longaberger is a manufacturer of maple wood baskets -- so isn't it fitting that the company's Ohio headquarters is a tribute to its product? The handles on the basket building can be heated in the winter. Dave Longaberger, the company's founder, wanted all of the company's buildings to be shaped like baskets. But after his death, his daughters put the kibosh on that plan.
The Hang Nga guesthouse -- known as the Crazy House -- in Da Lat, Vietnam, was designed by architect Dang Viet Nga. It's meant to be considered a fairy tale house (though it looks more like a nightmare). The home resembles a tree, with sculpted elements taking the form of animals, mushrooms, spider webs and caves.
The Graz Art Museum served as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2003. It is now an architectural landmark, housing contemporary art exhibits. Its creators, Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, reportedly refer to it as "the friendly alien."
The Ray and Maria Stata Center is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry -- who is well-known for some pretty crazy designs -- the building hosts several MIT classes, some of which are for the computer science and electrical engineering programs.
Used as the main venue for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, the stadium is referred to as "The Big O" for its doughnut-shaped roof. The leaning tower is the tallest inclined tower in the world, standing at 574 feet.
A truly unique structure, China's Piano House is in the shape of a grand piano, with a giant glass guitar (or cello, if you wish) as the entry point. Inside, it's a showroom for city planners' ideas for the district of Shannan.
Is this the portal to the other side? No, but it was a really cool short-lived art installation. Houston sculptors Dan Havel and Dean Ruck used two homes that were slated for demolition in 2005 to create this scary/awesome work of art. But after only a few months, it was razed.
This housing complex was originally thought up by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie as his thesis project at McGill University. It was then built for the World's Fair in 1967. Today, it's considered an architectural landmark and one of the most important buildings in Canada.
This 13-story building was thought to be the world's tallest wooden tower -- until it came down in late 2008. It took Nikolai Petrovich Sutyagin 15 years to build. However, Sutyagin never got a formal building permit for the structure, and it quickly deteriorated after he was sent to prison on racketeering charges. In 2008, the building was condemned and ordered to be dismantled.
Known as a "housing project for honeybees," the Ramot Polin Apartments were created by Zvi Hecker, who was well known for constructing buildings using geometrical design. It was very controversial at the time it was built (1972-75). The building was one of the projects meant to help settle Jerusalem following the Six Day War.
Built in 1922, this gas station shaped like a teapot is just one of several constructions meant to serve as roadside attractions as the national highway system expanded in the U.S. Today, it's listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.