Town leaders to discuss future of controversial banners that hang in downtown Arlington

ARLINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Town leaders in Arlington are planning to get together to discuss the future of a pair of controversial banners that were one of 20 designs selected to hang from both sides of light posts downtown.

The banners in question, which appear to show a white police officer in riot gear face-to-face with a person of color, have caught the attention of many residents.

“It has to do with a police officer wearing a mask and using gas masks with appears to be a woman of color,” town resident Margie DiMonte said.

The Arlington Arts Commission recently held a contest, calling on students to submit designs that fell under the theme of “Protest: Lifting Voices.”

“Our artists this year didn’t back down from subjects such as social, environmental, and economic justice, protection of our earth, its creatures, peace and love…These banners serve as a reminder of that which we wish to protect and speak out for, or against,” the commission said.

Local business owner Emily Shea said, “I think it’s an important thing for everyone to talk about. I think public art should make us ask questions.”

The particular banners hang outside of Shea’s Kickstand Cafe.

“I want to believe that the police department has a lot of really good people who understand these problems that are facing us,” Shea said.

When asked about the banners, Arlington Police Chief Juliann Flaherty told 7NEWS that she had no comment.

Though concerns have been raised by some in the town.

Town leaders are slated to address those concerns on Thursday.

The banners are supposed to remain in place through May.

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