The embodiment of the privilege that was Turner's sexual assault sentence, in one simple stencil.
Last week Stanford University student and convicted rapist Brock Turner was freed from prison after just three months, one-half of the already lenient sentence that has sparked international outrage for months now. On Tuesday, he registered as a sex offender in his home state of Ohio, and since then, violent protestors outside his house have kept his name in the news cycle.
LA street artist Plastic Jesus—recently known for erecting a tiny wall around Donald Trump's Hollywood star—framed the weak justice that was Turner's sentence in a way that will make both creatives and urbanists cringe. "I was gonna paint some street art on this electrical box, but I realised I could go to jail for longer than a rapist," he stenciled onto an electrical box posted to Instagram on Tuesday. In the description he explains, "Streetart [sic] is considered criminal vandalism. If damage exceeds $400 it is a felony with up to 3 years jail time. Below $400 is misdemeanor 1 year jail time. And let's be honest if the city send out one guy with a pot of paint and a brush they are gonna cost it at more than $400." If prosecuted to the full extent of the law in some states, Plastic Jesus would end up in jail for longer than Turner did for forcing sex on an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.
Last night Plastic Jesus posted a second stencil, to the same effect as Tuesday's, but on a wall:
The outrage has prompted California to pass a law enforcing mandatory minimum sentences for sexually assaulting an unconscious person. According to a statement issued by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, Assembly Bill 2888 is designed, "to make sure the next Brock Turner either leaves the next Emily Doe alone, or the next Brock Turner goes to prison,” though there has been some controversy about whether this law is the best way to solve the problem. Plastic Jesus' words capture his rage against the mishandling of Turner's case and the legal system's leniency towards rapists of a certain privilege, but it also embodies the legacy of bad laws written out of fear and manipulated public opinion.