In deal, taggers don’t have to pay L.A. millions for graffiti cleanup
Richard Winton (Los Angeles Times) | June 20, 2012
Former members of the Metro Transit Assassins tagging crew will not have to pay the city of Los Angeles millions of dollars for vandalism cleanup but will be subject to some of the same restrictions placed on gang members under an agreement reached with the city attorney.
The settlement was announced Wednesday, the resolution of a landmark lawsuit against the taggers that sought to restrict their behavior and force them to pay $1.2 million in penalties and $3.7 million in damages for “500 documented incidents of graffiti vandalism.”
The lawsuit against 11 alleged members of the crew was filed in June 2010 in response to a quarter-mile-long graffiti “bomb” of its acronym along the Los Angeles River.
Initially, city lawyers also sought to prevent the individuals — including artist Cristian Gheorghiu, a.k.a. Smear — from profiting from the sale of any related art.
Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California challenged the proposed injunction on 1st Amendment grounds, but a judge found that the constitution “does not protect destruction of public or private property by graffiti vandalism, trespass and illegal activities.”
Under the deal, defendants are prohibited from associating with other members of the tagging crew in public and possessing graffiti tools. They must also obey an adult curfew, according to Deputy City Atty. Jim McDougal.
The city will not enforce an unspecified financial judgment against the defendants as long as they refrain from any “graffiti vandalism.” The defendants must perform 100 hours of graffiti removal.
Photo credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
Tags: adult curfew, Cristian Gheorghiu, graffiti vandalism, Los Angeles River, Metro Transit Assassins, MTA, vandalism cleanup