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The highland park police have alleged Antonio Cosme and William Lucka of the Raiz Up collective painted “Free the Water” and a large black fist on the water tower of the Highland Park Water Treatment Plant, located at the intersection  I-75 and I-94. The two artists were apprehended at the location last November 2015. After one year of no correspondence, Highland Park police finally sent the two a summons in early March. The Wayne county prosecutor is charging both with Felony Malicious Destruction of Property and trespassing.

Antonio and Lucka have legal representation and are scheduled to appear in court on March 22. Their attorney, suggested it’s likely the duo all have to pay substantial “diversion” costs to the city of highland park to avoid a felony. The city only recently repainted the water tower, and they don’t want to pay for that work themselves.

While we anticipate the two will not see jail time (4 years is the maximum penalty), however, fighting a felony is expensive. Legal fees, court costs, probation and diversion can cost up to $9,000 depending on what the city charges for painting the water.

Antonio is a farmer, artist, and activist that has been organizing against Emergency Management and water shutoffs since 2012. Co founder of the RaizUp, Antonio has been involved with Detroit’ers Resisting Emergency Management, and the People’s Water Board for the last 3 years.

Lucka is an muralist, and highly skilled artist from Southwest Detroit. He volunteers to teach guitar with Grace in Action and has been a member of the Raiz Up for the last year. Lucka’s art has spoken loudly against gentrification, takeover and for original peoples. A tenured Southwest Detroit artist, Lucka has been an integral member of many public art projects throughout the community.

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