Fans rally to raise money for RoboCop statue in Detroit

DETROIT (Reuters) - Like RoboCop himself in the cult classic movie, plans for a statue of the mechanized crime fighter in Detroit may not be dead after all.

Actor Richard Eden , dressed as Robocop stands on the set of the new television series in Toronto on Oct. 11, 1993. REUTERS/STR New

On Monday, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing touched off a debate on the internet when his office rejected a suggestion that the struggling city erect a statue to RoboCop.

The question had come into the mayor’s office via Twitter from someone who later tweeted that the idea had been a joke.

But by Thursday, more than 4,000 people had joined a Facebook page to support the idea of bringing a RoboCop statue to Detroit, and a group of artists pledged to raise $50,000 to fund its construction in an online campaign.

In the 1987 movie starring Peter Weller, a mortally wounded Detroit police officer is brought back to life as a half-man, half-machine crime-fighter.

Some Detroiters have argued that the city should not celebrate a movie that portrays Detroit as suffering from a “cancer” of crime when efforts to build statues of Motown pop music legends such as Michael Jackson and Diana Ross have languished.

“I think the important thing in the movie is RoboCop himself and the values he stood for,” said Brandon Walley, an artist and one of the founders of a fund-raising effort.

“I think a lot of people that are saying that movie just puts Detroit in a negative light,” Walley said. “Well, there’s a lot more in there that they might be missing.”

Bing’s spokeswoman, Karen Dumas, told the Detroit Free Press that the mayor would consider using public land for a donated RoboCop statue.

“Should the opportunity present itself to receive a donation of this or any other works of public art, we will consider acceptance and appropriate placement,” she said.

Writing by Kevin Krolicki, Editing by Greg McCune