UPDATE: Artist behind 'Don't Shoot' piece speaks on the current controversy

Updated Friday, May 1, 2015 --- 10:00 p.m.

"It's a very controversial issue right now no matter where you go you can't run from it, " Mike L'Roy said as he stood in front of his work.

The 22 year old hoped putting paint to canvas would urge the public to address the topic.

His painting, called 'Don't Shoot', shows officers in riot gear, pointing their guns at a small black child with a water gun.

An image of the art circulated around police departments earlier this week before it landed on the Wisconsin Professional Police Association Executive Director's desk.

"The officers we represent were very disturbed by this to have such a negative stereotypical anti-law enforcement message be showcased in a public venue to the exclusion of anything else we thought was not very helpful and not very constructive in terms of the public dialogue that we need to have," WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer said.

A conversation Library Director Greg Mikells agreed with offering the Union to install a statement right next to the piece.

"We're very strong supporters of intellectual freedom that doesn't necessarily mean we endorse the content of the image but we thought this is a voice from the community and we see public library as a platform for the public to express their opinion." Mikells said.

Which is the reason why Mike decided to show his artwork here.

The artist says he had no intention to create such a controversy he just wanted to open up the floor for dialogue.

"The moment I put the first paintbrush on the canvas I just want people to be engaged and to talk about what's going on in the world right now," L'Roy added.
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Posted Friday, May 1, 2015---11:17 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Two labor groups representing police officers in Wisconsin are objecting to a piece of art on display at the capital city's main library entitled "Don't Shoot."

The Wisconsin Professional Police Association and the Madison police union say they're "deeply troubled" by the display which shows a young African-American boy pointing a toy gun at three officers in riot gear who are pointing guns back at the child.

Jim Palmer, the executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association and Dan Frei, president of the Madison Professional Police Officers Association issued the following joint statement in response to a new Madison Central Public Library art display.

“Although law enforcement officers have the utmost respect for the value of artistic expression and free speech, we are deeply troubled by the Madison Public Library’s current display. While we appreciate that the anti-law enforcement sentiment expressed in this piece represents the feelings of some, this “stormtrooper” portrayal of police officers who appear to threaten a small child only serves to advance patently negative law enforcement stereotypes at the expense of the important and selfless jobs that our dedicated officers perform.

“Strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the community it serves is a serious matter that will require the balanced collaboration of many diverse perspectives. The Madison Public Library’s ill-conceived promotion of such a biased and hostile view does little to contribute to that end.

“To be clear, we are not demanding that the display be taken down, as we do not view that as an appropriate response to this expression of speech. We are, however, exercising that liberty in our own right by voicing the collective reaction of Madison’s officers who find this publicly-sponsored art display as offensive and indicative of terribly poor judgment. This is a sensitive time in our community, and the library’s decision to showcase this piece in such a one-sided manner is a disturbing endorsement of an inflammatory perspective."

The art piece by Mike Lroy is on display at the Central branch of the Madison Public Library. The police groups say the "storm trooper" portrayal of the officer advances negative stereotypes of law enforcement. The groups are not asking the art to be taken down.

Library director Greg Mickells says they adhere to the principle of intellectual freedom.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press & NBC15 News