TRENTON, NJ (WTXF) - A sculptural rendering of the age-old ‘OK’ symbol in Trenton has gotten some blowback from police and city officials. The fear is that the sculpture will be interpreted as a Bloods gang symbol, so it’s being removed before it’s officially unveiled. Hank’s take is that Trenton is, once again, snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.
The Trentonian newspaper reported police concerns that the sculpture could be misinterpreted as a gang sign.
FOX 29’s Hank Flynn met with Earlie Harrell, known in Trenton as “Almighty Blood Messiah.” He’s head of the Trenton Bloods, and he knows a gang sign when he sees one. He says this isn’t it.
“There’s nothing about this that’s associated with gangs whatsoever,” Earlie says. “The people that made it, the people that organized it, the materials that it’s made out of – none of that has any significance to any gang whatsoever.”
The sculpture sits at Perry and Montgomery Streets, a tough corner historically known for gang activity. Local Debbie Chambliss told FOX 29 that she loved the sculpture, adding that the neighborhood needs it.
Earlie agreed, saying that art is there to be interpreted.
The sculpture was built by 17 local kids under supervision of a professional sculptor. Julia Taylor of Isles, the Trenton non-profit that gave the sculpture a space, says they’re proud of it.
“They’re proud of turning what was a vacant lot into something beautiful, and they’re helping to change the perception of experience and place in Trenton. It’s really valuable,” she says.
The sculpture, nonetheless, will be removed. Julia, in coordination with City Hall, says that a more appropriate location will be sought.