<
>

Men who threw paint on 'Fist' sentenced

5/14/2004

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.