Performance artist Kalan Sherrard, a New York “avant-garde nihilist subway performer,” was arrested at a Miami, Florida art show after pulling a fake penis out of his pants during a protest. Sherrard and about 30 others were protesting the wealthy at Art Basel when he allegedly resisted the police who were attempting to remove him from the building.
As police were escorting Sherrard out of the show, he yanked a fake penis out of his pants — which officers initially, somehow, mistook for a gun. Fortunately for Sherrard, white privilege exists in America, and not a single bullet was fired.
Sherrard and his partner Maria Paz Valenzuela were walking around the building letting air out of a balloon in an obnoxious manner and screaming “F*ck Art Basel. F*ck all you rich people,” when police approached the couple.
After Sherrard pulled out his faux penis, which somehow was mistaken for a gun, police roughly tackled both him and Valenzuela to the ground. Two officers held Sherrard on the ground, one resting his knee in the center of the performance artist’s back.
“The unknown item was discovered to be a prosthetic penis sex toy,” Miami Beach Police Officer Alex Delgado. “The item was impounded.”
Police are confused as to what artistic statement Sherrard could have been possibly making with a dildo. “It’s like the chicken crossing the road question,” said Detective Vivian Thayer.
The Miami Herald reports that:
Sherrard, who contacted the Miami Herald after a story was posted online about his arrest, didn’t get into why he was packing a fake penis for his Basel appearance. But he did say that when he and a companion initially tried to enter the convention center on Sunday, they were told by security officers that they were dressed “too artistically.”
So they spent the next hour wandering around outside the fair asking visitors for clothes, Sherrard said. After ‘a very basic anti-world rant,’ Sherrard said they were accosted by security and police.
Also busted on the same charges was Maria Valenzuela, 20, who police said tried to jump on an officer dealing with Sherrard.
Sherrard said they were placed in [a] small van for four hours, then transported to jail where they were released at 6 a.m. Monday after posting $1,500 each. On Monday night, Sherrard was scheduled to entertain visitors at a small art gallery in the north end of Little Haiti.
According to police, Sherrard and Valenzuela were part of a crowd of about three dozen who were demonstrating and wearing masks inside the center. They attracted the attention of security, including off-duty cops, who tried to escort them out of the building.
Meanwhile, all across the country African-Americans are finding themselves victims of brutal police attacks. Eric Garner was choked to death by a New York police officer for the alleged crime of selling loose cigarettes.
Rumain Brisbon of Arizona was shot dead by police officers after a bottle of oxycodone in the victim’s pocket was mistaken for a gun. In South Carolina, Levar Jones was shot by a white police officer simply for reaching for his identification upon the officer’s request. It only took a Cleveland, Ohio police officer about two seconds to gun down a 12-year-old African-American child who was carrying a toy gun. John Crawford was murdered by white police officers in a Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart because he was carrying a toy gun he picked up in the store and intended to purchase.
This is just a short list of African-Americans who were murdered by police for offenses that do not warrant what amounts to an execution — or no offense at all. Had Sherrard been black, it is almost certain his fate would have been very different.