Tempe, AZ — As TFTP reported in 2017, the Trump administration lifted a ban on military surplus hardware being transferred to police departments across the United States. The controversial 1033 program became a source of citizen outrage after images of police armed with military grade weaponry, including grenade launchers and armored MRAPs, were beamed into people homes across the country during the battlefield-style police response to the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.
As many Americans noted, Ferguson, Missouri looked like a war zone, with police kitted out in Marine-issue camouflage and military-grade body armor, toting short-barreled assault rifles, and rolling around in armored vehicles — virtually indistinguishable from US soldiers.
Shortly after the American public became widely aware, and largely outraged, over the extreme militarization of their local police forces, President Obama was forced to sign an Executive Order (EO) that blocked large-caliber weapons, armored vehicles, grenade launchers and other heavy military hardware from being repurposed from battlefields across the globe to small town USA.
This was one of very few notable pro-liberty moves by the Obama admin, and it was wiped away. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost and evidence of it comes in the form of a SWAT raid conducted by dozens of cops on a man over graffiti.
Graffiti Artist known as “Penis Man” AKA Dustin Shomer was arrested by the SWAT team from Tempe Police Department on Thursday at his Phoenix condo. The barely known graffiti artist claimed in a Facebook post he was treated like one of America’s most wanted criminals instead of a dude who tagged walls and buildings for fun.
It is important to point out that we do not ever support the destruction or desecration of someone’s private property and Shomer was in the wrong. However, the response from militarized cops was just as wrong. Also, in one of his social media posts, Shomer reportedly spoke about how ‘Penis Man’ was a protest against ‘corrupt local government’.
Penis Man’s phallic presence had grown larger around Tempe in the weeks and months leading up to his arrest. Apparently, Tempe police was not impressed with the growth of Penis Man’s popularity, especially after the artist tagged a municipal building with his characteristic wording “Penis Man” which he spray painted all over town. The Phoenix New Times writes:
…the tagger had become brazen with his markings in the past couple of weeks, hitting, among other places, the historic Hayden Flour Mill and the front door of Tempe’s municipal building.
Tempe Police even went so far as to hold a press conference to discuss what a problem Penis Man had become and enlisted the help of the public to locate and apprehend the graffiti artist.
Following Shomer’s arrest, Tempe police issued the following press release which reads in part:
[Shomer was] responsible for multiple graffiti incidents of ‘Penis Man’ throughout the City of Tempe and across Arizona State University as well.
Shomer’s list of alleged crimes are numerous. So are his charges. Dustin was booked into Tempe City Jail and charged with 16 counts of aggravated criminal damage, 8 counts of criminal damage and one count of criminal trespassing in the first degree.
Following the arrest, in a series of Facebook posts, Shomer decried the way he was treated. He wrote:
I just spent the last 24 hours in Tempe and Phoenix police custody for spraying ‘Penis Man…They raided my condo and vehicle and swarmed my entire complex in west Phoenix with 25 heavily armed SWAT officers, and pointed a silenced assault rifle in my face.
In what could be considered a self-deprecating admonishment, Shomer calls Tempe, AZ the real bad guys and says pointing guns in his face was completely unnecessary.
Anyone with any doubt who the bad guys are here … be certain it is the City of Tempe, City of Phoenix, and police forces valleywide. There is no excuse for pointing an AR-15 in the face of a non-violent offender.
Shomer also claims he was denied medical care after the raid of his home.
[I was] told I wouldn’t receive medical attention after requesting it, even though it was posted on the wall to ask if desired. I was having a panic attack, cause they put a f**king assault rifle in my face (that’s illegal, both denying medical attn, and excessive force).
Some have said that it ‘all comes out in the end’ and truly we do not know what will happen to Penis Man’s fight for freedom. But what we do know is the not-so-talented graffiti artist has made one point undeniably clear. Tempe police will go out of their way to amass an army of soldier cops to drive all the way to the West side of the valley to nab a graffiti artist. But they won’t arrest one of their own local boys in blue for shooting and killing a 14-year-old teenager in the back who was running from police.