June 22, 2018
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Wiscasset street artist arrested in NYC after claiming NYPD used spy drones to monitor citizens

By Larry Grard, Times Record

A street artist from Wiscasset, arrested on dozens of charges after he allegedly posted displays mocking the New York Police Department, is “laying low,” according to an associate.

Bucky Turco of Animalnewyork.com — an art-inspired web site the features “art, news, culture, politics and opinion, straight from the gut of New York” — told The Times Record that Essam Attia, 29, a Wiscasset High School graduate, has declined comment on the matter.

In September, Turco and members of his staff interviewed Attia regarding his claim that the NYPD has used spy drones to monitor citizens.

Attia, a 2002 Wiscasset High School graduate who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq, faces 56 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, grand larceny possession of stolen property and weapons possession after allegedly having an unloaded .22-caliber revolver under his bed at his Manhattan apartment when he was arrested early last Wednesday.

“He obviously has to lay low now,” said Turco, editor of Animalnewyork. “He’s been advised not to day anything right now, as you can imagine.”

Attia has posted bail, which was set at $10,000 bond or $2,500 cash, according to the New York Daily News.

The New York Daily News reported that Attia planted dozens of ads in display cases around the city between Sept. 14 and 16, many of them using his artist signature, “ESSAM.” Nearly 100 posters spotted at kiosks across the city all included the message, “NYPD Drones. Protection when you least expect it.”

The NYPD fingerprinted the fake posters, the Daily News reported.

“When he was in the Army, drones were more ‘eyes in the sky,’” Turco said Tuesday. “Now, they’re killing machines.”

Turco was critical of the NYPD.

“I think it’s about the NYPD utilizing scarce resources at a time when there’s so much hurricane relief going on,” Turco said. “Yeah, he got arrested, but now we can talk about all these chickens coming to roost after the war.”

Turco provided a link to the Attia interview, which police said helped lead them to his arrest, Turco said.

Animalnewyork.com cast Attia’s face in shadows and disguised his voice.

“The meaning of the drone campaign for me, it’s really about creating a conversation,” Attia said in the interview, provided by Animalnewyork.


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