Police department statues center of lawsuit

May 31, 2012 10:00:00 PM PDT
It's a tribute to police officers - a statue outside Sugar Land's police department. But, the sculptor is claiming that a company copied his idea - and now he's suing.

He claims a second likeness of his statue is standing in Pearland and he says the way he found out about it was surprising.

If you've been by the Sugar Land and Pearland police departments, you might have seen the statues out in front of both buildings. Well now the artist who made the Sugar Land statue is suing the man who made the Pearland statue saying it was copied without permission.

When Sugar Land artist Bob Pack made this statue, called "The Guardian" back in the 1990s, he was paid $124,000 for his work.

"I wanted to emphasis the fact it's a great place for family and it's a great place to raise children," he said.

Pack says "The Guardian" is copyrighted, a one-of-a-kind made only for the people of Sugar Land -- one of a kind, that is, until 2010.

"It's ridiculous," he said.

Then one day, Pack's son, who was the model for the little boy in The Guardian, was in Pearland and saw this:

"They took the book out and they put it on his back in the way of a backpack. Other than that, it's substantially similar," Pack said.

The similar statue is now in front of the Pearland Police Department, commissioned by the city of Pearland and made by a man named Matt Glenn in Utah.

Wednesday, Pack's attorney filed a federal lawsuit against Glenn, alleging copyright infringement.

And the proof that this is not an accidental copy, Pack says, is in these emails between a Pearland city worker and Glenn. In one, Glenn asks if he should draw a new statue or "if you are happy with the officer in the other statue." And in another email dated February 3, 2010, Glenn asks "Should we make some changes so it is not a copy of the other statues?"

"They came over and took photographs of the piece, copious photographs and used that to send to the foundry in Utah," Pack said.

A Pearland police spokesman told me over the phone that no one from the city would talk on camera.

Glenn received $29,000 for the Pearland statue, according to the emails. But Pack says Pearland should pay him.

"Did they ever contact you?" we asked Pack.

"No, no. Had they contacted me, I would have told them no. This is for Sugar Land," he said.

Late Friday, Glenn sent Eyewitness News a statement that only said, "I deny all of the allegations being made against me in the pending litigation."


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