On Tuesday night, 21-year-old street artist Delbert "Demz" Rodriguez died from a brain injury caused by a collision with a Miami cop car. Demz had been tagging a wall in Wynwood during Art Basel when an undercover detective chased him down.
Hours after Demz's death, a strange video was uploaded to YouTube. In it, a group calling itself the Anonymous Street Crew tries to link Demz's death to other instances of police brutality and calls for murals and protests in honor of the slain artist.
"Miami Police, you have caught our attention," says a computerized voice. "Art is not a crime, and we will not tolerate fellow artists being in danger for expressing their first amendment rights by the same people who swore an oath to uphold and protect that very right."
It's unclear if the video is, in fact, linked to the international hacker network known as Anonymous. On its website, Anonymous Street Crew calls itself "a sect within the Anonymous Collective."
"The Anonymous Street Crew acts as 'advertisers' for the Anonymous collective through our many forms of mass communication, Including protest, street art, and any and all other forms of activism/hacktivism," the manifesto says.
According to Channel 10, the video was first shared on Twitter by an account called @Wicked305, which has links to a Trish M. Cordero.
"Far too long have police and other public officials committed such crimes against humanity with complete immunity. finally, the world is awakening and uniting against your crimes. we are adding Demz to the long list of victims harmed by police brutality," the video argues. "The Anonymous Street Crew is hereby issuing Operation Demz Revenge, and is asking you, the citizens and fellow street artists, to assist in this operation."
The video does not specify what, exactly, Operation Demz Revenge will consist of, but does call on artists, local citizens, and even cops to assist:
To our fellow street artists around the world, we are encouraging you to take the streets, express your rage through your cans, and paint massive murals in honor of Demz. It is up to us keep this crime from going unchecked
To the citizens of Florida, we are asking you to occupy every inch of your city in protest and demand justice.
To the citizens of the world, we are asking you to remember Demz while you protest the tragedies of Eric Garner and Michael Brown
To Florida police and other law enforcement agencies, this is a unified resistance against the brutal and unlawful actions of your fellow police officers. We are demanding that you cease your brutality and overzealous actions against citizens and fellow street artists immediately, and hold all violators accountable for their actions
To the family of Demz, the Anonymous Street Crew would like to say that your son's tragedy has not gone unnoticed. Operation Demz Revenge is now engaged.
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