"KYLE WAS RIGHT."
Those are the words spray-painted and then sprayed over on a Wheat Ridge underpass near Interstate 70 next to a large stenciled portrait of a man, presumably Kyle Rittenhouse, holding an assault weapon and standing in front of an American flag shaped like Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse is the seventeen-year-old from Illinois who was charged with murder after he brought an assault rifle to a Kenosha, Wisconsin, protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, then allegedly killed two protesters and injured a third.
While Rittenhouse is now an accused murderer, many on the right, from Tucker Carlson to former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who recently described him as "a little boy," were swift to come to his defense.
In the case of this painting, brought to our attention by a reader who described it as "neo-Nazi graffiti" and said it had been reported to the Wheat Ridge police to no effect, Rittenhouse is clearly being depicted as a hero.
("We don’t have a report of anybody calling in to our dispatch center, calling into our code enforcement officers," says Sara Spalding, a spokesperson for the City of Wheat Ridge. "We’ve checked everything and there is no record with anybody calling with a report like this.")
Not everybody appreciates the image. A couple of tags on his arm and rifle say "ACAB," which stands for "All Cops Are Bastards." Another one on his body reads "Fuck You Bitch." Next to his image is the tag "Fuck Racism."
Still, while City of Wheat Ridge workers had recently painted over a number of nearby tags and paintings along the adjacent bike trail, the Rittenhouse mural and other larger-scale graffiti pieces were still intact yesterday afternoon, though someone had painted over "KYLE WAS RIGHT."
The Rittenhouse image stands in stark contrast to most of the political murals in metro Denver that reflect the movement against police violence in the United States, including those of the Black Love Mural Festival and Thomas "Detour" Evans's Spray Their Names project, memorializing such victims as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain.
Crush Walls, Babe Walls and Street Wise Boulder all included tributes to anti-racist movements, and the City of Denver even got in on the action, paying for the massive Black Lives Matter painting by Adri Norris and Pat Milbery put down on Broadway in June.
Have you seen political graffiti or murals in locations outside of downtown Denver? Send a note to [email protected]