Black lives matter fence (screen grab, Facebook)

City officials in West St. Paul are demanding a man remove a colorful Black Lives Matter mural from his fence because it violates code.

Ryan Weyandt commissioned the mural for his wooden fence last summer, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Friday. The mural contains the words “Black Lives Matter” and bears the face of 2020 mayor candidate Kimetha Johnson, the first Black person to run for municipal office in the city’s history.

City spokesman Dan Nowicki said an ordinance prohibits pictures or letters on fences and requires fences to be one color. He said the city has received more than 20 complaints about the mural since September.

The city didn’t take action immediately because Minnesota law allows signs of any size during election season. That period ended Nov. 13. If he doesn’t paint it over by Thursday he could be cited every 10 days, with fines starting at $200 and growing to $2,000 per ticket.

Nowicki said in an email to the Star Tribune that city officials understand the mural is important to Weyandt and other community members and doesn’t consider content or message when dealing with code infractions.

Weyandt’s neighbors have offered to paint the fence for free or raise money to pay his fines. Weyandt said he hasn’t decided what to do.