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Posted on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 10:55 a.m.

Man destroys 'obscene snowman' after someone calls Ypsilanti police

By Lee Higgins

Updated story: Builder of 'obscene snowman' isn't upset police told him to destroy it

A man who helped build a snow structure "resembling that of the male anatomy" destroyed it Tuesday after someone who was offended called Ypsilanti police, a police incident log said.

An Ypsilanti police officer responded to a North Summit Street home about 3:31 p.m. to investigate a report of an "obscene snowman," the log said.

Someone reported the large snow structure, which was in the man's front yard, was "offensive" and in "open view of kids," the log said.

The 20-year-old man destroyed the structure in front of the police officer, and the officer asked him to refrain from such behavior in the future, according to the log.

Ypsilanti police officials couldn't be reached this morning for additional details.



Tue, Mar 2, 2010 : 8:20 p.m.

I agree with Jedi, it is Ok to walk around in this town with large posters of aborted fetuses an obscene snowman should be of no concern. I just wish I could of heard the original call/dispatch "Hi, there are these people down the street building a snowman with a wee wee" or "calling all cars: we have a snowman with a penis on north summit". Every single day 3 to 5 children die due to child abuse but it's too bad the police are busy answering calls for obscene snowman. I mean come on! I have a child that is almost 3 and she knows that boys have pee pees.


Fri, Feb 26, 2010 : 11:29 p.m.

Fun Police have to ruin it for everyone. I'm building one this weekend. Let's see if the neighbors complain. I'll add color if they do.


Fri, Feb 26, 2010 : 7:23 a.m.

Now this is what I call hyperlocal news. It's good to have some levity injected into this paper now and then to provide a good laugh. Constantly reading about police officers, firemen, and teachers getting laid off can get depressing.


Fri, Feb 26, 2010 : 6:39 a.m.

No, the human body is not something to be ashamed of; however, there is difference between art and a couple of 20-something year old guys building a snow penis, most likely giggling like girls the whole time.

Jon Saalberg

Thu, Feb 25, 2010 : 6:20 p.m.

@Justin Guglielmotti: so we should be concerned that children should be horrified at seeing a rendering of one? Therefore, if they go to a public place and see a penis, the creators should be arrested? What about sculptures in art museums? Should we arrest the sculptors? Or painters who paint images of nudes? Negative attention paid to the anatomy is just another sign of how messed up American society is - ashamed of the human body, yet surround by adult stores, strip clubs and even pornographic offerings from Comcast.


Thu, Feb 25, 2010 : 4:06 p.m.

Gee!!! I Thought I could go for a ride, and see a harmful body part I have not seen for many years!! Thanks Ypsilanti Police and the person that thinks it shound not be displayed!!!! Only a fake body part!! At lease you can find it for Child support!!!


Thu, Feb 25, 2010 : 10:34 a.m.

This reminds me of the pumpkins I saw on my way to class at the U with penises (or would it be peni) carved in them. Maybe we should all display some sort of phallic symbol somewhere on our property. Power to the penis!


Thu, Feb 25, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

Where is the photo? What kind of paper is this I thought part of the idea was more video?


Thu, Feb 25, 2010 : 6:27 a.m.

@Jedi I Knight-thank you! I find those pictures of aborted fetus more offensive than a...ahem...snow art. What exactly is the crime here? Could someone really get ticketed for...what...obscene jesture? So is the middle finger! And, what kid would/should be offended by male anatomny? Wake up people, there are certainly more to worry about than this, no, not in the world, right in your own neighborhood!

Jed I Knight

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 8:41 p.m.

"..not meant to be seen by the members of our communities that are under the age of 18 years old" Uh - I got news for you, there are a lot of people under the age of 18 that are seeing a real one, esp. the males. So its OK for folks to walk around with LARGE full color picture posters of aborted fetuses; but oh no to a Snow phallus?

Jed I Knight

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 8:36 p.m.

Flash Mob - to push over the Water Tower?


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 7:16 p.m.

Boot lip, I think you have a case against someone for trespassing and the police are complicit. Maybe you could seek an investigation for destruction of "private" property. Nonetheless, the whole thing is ridiculous and the structure should be rebuilt.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 6:55 p.m.

"This is supposed to be news?" Well other than stirring up debate about the role of police in society, personal rights, arts in our culture, I would think it's just as much "news" as ads for Deja Vu, bridge, comics, and many other things that have been in your local newspaper since before we were born. Actually now that I think of it this should be labled under Art & Entertainment.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 6:33 p.m.

This is supposed to be news?


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 6:24 p.m.

Glad to see that although the penis had been destroyed, the testes were still there when I drove by after work.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 6:20 p.m.

So Ypsilanti has a penis in a front yard. Ann Arbor will soon have a urinal at Frazerhall. Lets get the two together!!

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 5:11 p.m.

wait a minute... I thought the guy who knocked the thing down was someone who built it? Anyways, I still haven't figured out why people think it is not ok for kids to see representations of a penis. How did they know it was a penis anyways and not a representation of the water tower? I am going to write a letter to the police department asking them to please ignore citizen complains about snow sculptures.

News Watcher

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 5:08 p.m.

Oh for heaven's sake. When I was a kid, I used to make snow women -- that's right, two shapely snow balls in the middle instead of one large middle snow ball -- and nobody ever called the cops on me. Ridiculous.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 4:45 p.m.

@bootlip...why not just build an "homage" to the water tower? And put a sign that says it's an "homage" how can anyone be offended by young artists honoring a local monument...and do you know who it was that destroyed it?


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 4:28 p.m.

This brings new meaning to "getting 9 inches of snow"!!


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 4:08 p.m.

Death to Smoochy man...Tell them it's a rocket ship.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 4 p.m.

Not to worry... Just roll two giant snowBalls up against the base of the water tower and you'll be all set... Cheers!


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 3:58 p.m.

I think you should rebuild it. Bigger, stronger, whiter.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 3:53 p.m.

I am one of the the people that built the snow tower. I called the ypsilanti police and they didn't give me any help, but what they did inform me is that they allowed an unauthorized person to go onto my property and destroy the structure under supervision of a police officer. Of course this is without my consent and knowledge, so I'm asking for some legal advice to see if this is an offense...or if they have the right to do such an action. Please continue to express your opinions, for this is not a matter that my friends and I are willing to give up without a fight. Thanks!


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 3:42 p.m.

It's only snow, it will melt (eventually). What is the excitement? I think people NEED jobs asap!


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 3:26 p.m.

The best part of all of this is I found out Ypsi won a national award for most Penis looking building. That is priceless. I remember at Madison Wi for Halloween, people would dress up as the aforementioned snowman. People just laughed. My kids would have laughed at the snowman as well. If I have to drive by these pro-life people with their vile signage, what is the big deal about a SnowMan. I'm guessing the rights of the private on display were violated.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 2:55 p.m.

Ah man. Come on.. it's just snow! When I lived on normal street, about 2 and a half years ago, my roommates and I built a 10 ft snow man. It was fantastic. And, it was almost in the middle of the street. The cops stopped while we were building and told us to finish it. We ended up painting it and it looked like a Swedish Chef - Elvis the Swedish Chef. People would bring their kids and take pictures with it. Until... the stupid frat brothers down the street ran their truck into it, on purpose. We rebuilt it, and they ran their truck into it again. Oh well, they got shut down on rape charges. Where were my cops then? :(


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 2:50 p.m.

"I'm sure that it was the obscene version you see in a porn magazine or movie." Do you mean erect? You can say erect penis if you want we're all grown up here. "It's the same when someone makes an obscene snow sculpture featuring a woman's private regions." Well it's in the title of the article so I can see people throwing around the "Obscene" word quite liberally. If you want to just work out that whole "art vs. obscenity" topic, that's a little much for this message board. To call a penis "obscene" simply becasue it's erect might be over reacting a bit.

B Rapp

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 2 p.m.

Come on now... This is in a college neighborhood... Lets get over ourselves... We have all done stupid things in the past...

Justin Guglielmotti

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 1:50 p.m.

The fact should be that it should be left in the schools, not in public. I'm sure that the sculpture was not in the shape of the picture in a schoolbook. I'm sure that it was the obscene version you see in a porn magazine or movie. Either way that should not have to be seen in a community either way. It's the same when someone makes an obscene snow sculpture featuring a woman's private regions.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 1:43 p.m.

Whoever wrote this story, the facts and information are all wrong...I was involved in the building of this and none of us tore it down. The person claiming this is filing false claims and the story should be straightened


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 1:36 p.m.

"is not meant to be seen by the members of our communities that are under the age of 18 years old." Where is that stated in law exactly? What if this sculpture, also had snow diagrams around it showing where the testes were and things like that; making it a learning device for children. Then would it be acceptable? I mean then it woiuldn't be "illegal" to be seen by children, becasue they are given books in schools with information like that.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 1:28 p.m.

So who is the mouth breather that wasted the cop's time? The person who called the cops for this should be heavily fined and made an example of.

Justin Guglielmotti

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 1:26 p.m.

It's not a matter of whether its artistic or not. It's a matter that things like that stated by law in this country, whether or not it's real or fake, is not meant to be seen by the members of our communities that are under the age of 18 years old. Why can't anyone see that if children could have seen this, he should have been ticketed and fined for it.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 12:55 p.m.

All around stupid and immature from the fool who is probably overcompensating... to the 20-year-old-man who took pleasure in destroying (touching the snowman's privates all over) to the police officer who witnessed this vandalism of the citizens art project and did not to prevent/stop this crime in progress. To me commenting on these 'citizens'.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 12:40 p.m.

Well whats wrong with a giant penis in your fornt yard? Why would you be so offended by it?

Dog Lover

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 12:30 p.m.

I don't really understand how not wanting a penis snow figure in someone's front yard is "Victorian" and behind the times. I agree that calling the police was an over reaction and waste of their time, but at the same time I think that kind of thing should be saved for the back yard. If that makes me a Puritan, fine. I guess I'm not as "enlightened" as you.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 12:22 p.m.

"So a penis is obscene? I thought we advanced past the Victorian Age." yeah we have, right to the puritan era. Amercia is so behind it's pathetic.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 12:17 p.m.

hey...It's art and if A2 officials had seen it earlier they may have spent some of our tax $$ on purchasing it, paying to keep it frozen!!


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 12:06 p.m.

Saw this on Monday evening and laughed my butt off. I didn't get a photo though, and I'm sad there's not one here!


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

its totally immature and stupid... but hardly worthy of police attention... Ypsi has crime to deal with


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

I'm sure he thought it was funny at the time - but it's a bit immature.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 11:29 a.m.



Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 11:12 a.m.

So a penis is obscene? I thought we advanced past the Victorian Age.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 11:07 a.m.

Good point, alterego!


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 11:06 a.m.

The water tower's just a few blocks from there, and it too looks like, oh, umm, never mind.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 11:03 a.m.

Maybe he was simply recreating Ypsi's landmark water tower? I could see how that imagery might be confusing to people.