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’92 Malice Green mural demolished, new mural to come

Benny White Ethiopia stands in front of his mural of Malice Green shortly after Green’s death by police brutality. This photo ran on the front page of the Michigan citizen in 1992 .

By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — A group of Detroiters, including artist Bennie White Ethiopia, plan to reproduce the recently demolished Malice Green mural.

One of Detroit’s most recognizable memorial tributes to the late 34-year-old victim of police brutality was reduced to rubble just last week. On July 8, city workers, without any notification prior to, bulldozed the storefront where Green’s mural stood as a reminder of the violence the city has suffered for the past 20 years.

Days after the demolition, someone placed a lily in the midst of the rubble that reads, “Malice Green, all are precious in his sight.”

Days after the demolition, someone placed a lily in the midst of the rubble that reads, “Malice Green, all are precious in his sight.”

White Ethiopia painted the mural at 3428 West Warren to memorialize Green, who was killed by Detroit police officers Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers.

During a November 1992 stop-and-frisk for crack cocaine on the city’s west side, at Warren and 23rd streets, officers Budzyn and Nevers beat Green to death with their flashlights.

“The last thing they should have done was destroy it,” White Ethiopia told the Michigan Citizen. “It should have been more protected if anything because it had worldwide significance on violence period, especially in Detroit.”

Green’s death was devastating to Detroit’s Black community, who had long been witness to police brutality in the city.

Ron Scott, spokesperson for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, expressed his outrage at the destruction of the building through a press release.

“The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, like many other individuals and organizations in the city, was shocked and appalled to hear about the destruction of the building that housed the iconic mural of Malice Green,” says Scott.

The Coalition is also interested in having a new mural created by White Ethiopia so that people can continue to be reminded of Malice Green’s brutal death.

“If I’ll be allowed to do it,” says White Ethiopia. “If they can protect it. I had to restore it six or seven times (because of) people vandalizing it (and) disfiguring it.”

To date, Budzyn and Nevers are the only two officers in the city’s history to have been convicted in the death of a Detroit citizen, according to Scott.

White Ethiopia called the demolition a loss.

“It’s a personal loss to me, as well as to Detroit,” he said.

Plans of the new Malice Green site will be released in the coming weeks.

The City of Detroit is investigating the demolition.

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