Video: Wanted NYPD PSA Subverter Essam Discusses Drone Campaign and Tactics

By - Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Essam got over on the NYPD by placing 100 NYPD PSA subversions across New York City in two days. Hear him explain his motivations as well as the calculated tactics and a disguise in attempt to create discussion around this issue. It worked, since the placement of the posters stories about his affiliations and motivations have been circulating in many New York newspapers as the NYPD has been dusting the subversions for finger prints. Animal New York went with Essam and his team for one of the day’s missions, then sat down with the artist to get the story straight: On Sunday, September 16th at around 1am, a white van—labelled with “Van Wagner’s” blue logo and topped by a yellow strobe light—circled through permanently lit Times Square. Inside the vehicle, the driver and passenger, both dressed as construction workers, were nervous. They had just vandalized one kiosk a few yards away from an NYPD tower, now they were about to hit another one right underneath the nose of a large white NYPD security camera. Hearing his partner worry, “we’re really pushing some buttons here!” “Essam” shot back, “keep your head down, if they don’t see our faces we’re in the clear.” They hopped out of the van with their tool belts and in less than a minute another authorized Van Wagner spot was replaced with one of the drone spoofing pieces that have so angered the NYPD lately. Five hours later Essam and the team he calls his “bros” (they also utilizes two “security vehicles” to scope out the scene, and in one instance “dodge a tail”) had knocked out 50 such spots. The next night, again concentrating mostly in midtown, they knocked out fifty more. Read the rest of the story at Animal New York

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