Men who threw paint on 'Fist' sentenced

Updated: May 14, 2004, 8:32 PM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Two men who threw white paint on a landmark sculpture of boxer Joe Louis's fist were sentenced Friday to 30 days in jail.

Brett Cashman, 45, and John T. Price, 27, were also ordered to serve 18 months on probation and pay $1,000 each for malicious destruction of property.

The damage to the 8,000-pound sculpture of the black boxing great's arm and fist was discovered Feb. 23. At the statue's base were pictures of two white police officers killed the week before, with the words "Courtesy of Fighting Whities."

The day after the arrests, a magistrate said the crime was "on a par with cross burning." But prosecutors did not bring hate-crime charges against the men.

Cashman and Price, who are white, have said they targeted the 24-foot sculpture because of its violent imagery, not as a racist act. Price said the use of "Fighting Whities" was "simply a goof on political correctness."

Both declined comment after the sentencing and said little in court.

"To them, it represents a symbol of violence -- a clenched fist," said Marc Beginin, Cashman's attorney. "If it's a monument to Joe Louis, where is the boxing glove?"

Louis, who died in 1981, is a hero in Detroit, where his family moved when he was a boy. The arena used by the Detroit Red Wings hockey team is named for Louis.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press