In the world of graffiti art, Justin Bieber is no Banksy. The Canadian pop idol wasn’t hiding in the dark of the night after a performance in Bogotá, Colombia, when he sprayed the image of a Canadian flag (adding a green marijuana plant to enclose the iconic maple leaf). Instead, a police escort surrounded Bieber when he also took time to write “Free Breezy,” his plea for U.S. police to free his new friend and infamous singer, Chris Brown, who is currently in jail on a felony assault charge.
— ╳ Chris Brown ╳ (@ChrisBrownRCA) November 1, 2013
Colombians, however, are not upset at Bieber’s artistic work. Instead, they are angry about the hypocrisy of police protecting him while doing graffiti, when a 16-year-old local was shot by police two years ago for doing the same thing.
Diego Felipe Becerra was killed by police in August 2011 while spraying graffiti in northern Bogota, according to local media outlets. Autopsy reports stated Becerra had paint on his hands and was shot in the back. The killing was condemned by the United Nations and the police officers involved are currently under investigation.
“While graffiti artists here in Colombia get attacked and thrown into jail by the police, an international artist is escorted by the same police to do his art,” stated Becerra’s father to a local radio station, according to Colombia Reports. Bieber’s biggest shock reportedly came when a local media crew showed up to capture him on camera.