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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Many cities have iconic statues that represent the spirit of those places. New York has the Statue of Liberty; Metropolis, Illinois has the statue of Superman, and, of course, Philadelphia has statues of Ben Franklin and Rocky Balboa. Now, NPR's Sonari Glinton reports on an unlikely statue coming to an unlikely city.

SONARI GLINTON: The city is Detroit. The statue: Robocop.

(Soundbite of movie, "Robocop")

Mr. PETER WELLER (Actor): (as Robocop) Anything you say may be used against you.

Unidentified Man (Actor): (as character) He's a cyborg, you idiot.

GLINTON: Yes, that Robocop. The star of the 1987...

(Soundbite of clearing throat)

GLINTON: ...classic science fiction film.

Mr. BRANDON WALLEY (Artist): The storyline is that he was a cop, a good cop, as a human that was murdered by some bad guys.

GLINTON: The movie was set - not filmed - in a futuristic Detroit. Brandon Walley has led the online campaign to bring a statue of Robocop to Detroit.

Mr. WALLEY: He was kind of brought back to life as a cyborg, but his principles were always to, you know, uphold the public trust and, you know, do good and be awesome.

GLINTON: The whole thing began when Mayor Dave Bing got this smart-alecky tweet: Philadelphia has a statue of Rocky and Robocop would kick Rocky's butt. He's a great ambassador for Detroit. Mayor Bing tweeted back: There are not any plans to erect a statue to Robocop. Thank you for the suggestion.

But Brandon Walley thought:

Mr. WALLEY: Ah, why not?

GLINTON: And in less than a week, Walley has raised more than $50,000 in private money to build a statue. He says in the meantime, Robocop has started a whole conversation about philanthropy in Detroit.

Mr. WALLEY: If you're funding Robocop like I am, then here's another list of organizations in Detroit and we're going to match funds. You know, I mean, this stuff is just awesome and this wouldn't have happened if something as silly as the Robocop statue, you know, would have came up.

GLINTON: But still, the online campaign has brought the requisite eye rolls from Detroiters.

Mr. WES COLLIE: Yeah, I've heard about it. I'm not impressed.

GLINTON: Wes Collie has lived in Detroit his whole life.

Mr. COLLIE: Robocop? Come on, man. With all this stuff going on in this city, they're going to put a statue of a movie robot?

GLINTON: Again, Brandon Walley.

Mr. WALLEY: A city needs to be fun too. It can't be all serious and, you know, no one has money and everything's terrible. It's not like, oh, it's going to be this big tourist boom for this city but it's just one more positive.

GLINTON: While everyone doesn't agree on the Robocop statue, they can agree Detroit needs all the positives it can get, even in cyborg form.

Sonari Glinton, NPR News, Detroit.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: This is NPR News.

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