ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. (PIX11)—A mural designed as a tribute to Trayvon Martin has sparked controversy in a quiet, New Jersey suburb.
Elmwood Park officials demanded the display painted on the side wall of the Messina Deli on East 54th Street be taken down after getting several complaints.
One person who's upset by the mural that features a faceless black man wearing a hoodie, with the message "We Got You Trayvon," is Lawrence Langerlaan, 71.
"Had the hooded character not been there, and the kid's name up, I might not have objected," Langerlaan said. "It kind of makes us feel like drugs, gangs and that kind of thing. This is a nice quiet neighborhood."
"We didn't draw his head being blown off. We didn't put bullet holes on the wall. We didn't depict gun violence. And there's certainly no gang affiliation here," said Carmelo Sigona, one of the five artists, who painted the mural in remembrance of the unarmed Florida teen, who was shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
A building code enforcer classified the work as graffiti, making the piece illegal, according to Sigona who spoke with PIX11 News.
Building owner John Quinn approved the project.
"We are looking at this as a constitutional right. This is not vandalism. It was painted with a spray can. However, it is artwork that represents the death of this young boy," Quinn said.