German Artists Claim They Planted White Flags on Brooklyn Bridge

The NYPD says it is looking into the claims of two German artists who said they installed the two white American flags on top of the Brooklyn Bridge last month in an overnight operation that set off worries about bridge security.  

The artists, Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke, first provided video and photos to the New York Times that they claim prove they were the ones who raised the white flags. 

They said the installation was an art project in part to celebrate John Augustus Roebling, the German engineer who designed the bridge and that it wasn't meant to embarrass police. 

The artists said in a statement that the so-called "White American Flags" exhibit "abandons the museum and returns art to the real world." 

Their website states they do art projects in public places that are meant to "temporarily override limitations and constraints without permission or invitation."

An NYPD official told NBC 4 New York investigators are taking a very close look at the artists' claims.

Police said last week they'd identified persons of interest in the case but declined to say when arrests could be executed. 

"We believe we know who a number of the people are that engaged in that action and that investigation is moving forward and is consuming a lot of investigatory resources as it should," Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told NBC 4 New York. "That event should not have happened."

The commissioner also said the investigation indicated there was "no terrorist threat" involved.

The artists told the Times they'd planned to come forward and that they "always face the consequences." They are planning to return the original American flags from the bridge, they said in the statement. 

"This is part of the work, to have an open discussion," said Leinkauf. "We just needed a little time to decide how to respond to the reaction."

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