Graffiti artist links found in U area housing

Robert Koch

Minneapolis Police stumbled upon photographs June 26 linking a woman to Twin Cities graffiti tagging after answering a disturbance call at a student house in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood.
When police arrived at 809 6th St. S.E., the woman was gone. But her open room revealed more.
“You could see — the door is in plain view — drug paraphernalia, and then you could see graffiti paraphernalia,” said Minneapolis police officer Robert Mooney. “Part of the tagging information was photographs of tags and the tagger posing by them.”
The alleged tagger, a resident who reportedly failed to pay her rent, tried to enter the house when another resident called police. The caller added she suspected narcotics in the evicted woman’s room.
Police also found and photographed a knife, a throwing star and anti-police literature.
The tagger went by the name “Coast” and belonged to a group of taggers called “Kill Your Television,” according to the police report.
But “Art Crimes,” a Web site advocating more legal space for graffiti artists, lists “Coast” — under a Twin Cities’ link — as a member of “Girls Kick Ass” and shows several photographs of her tags in the Twin Cities and Fargo.
Lt. Chris Hildreth has tracked taggers in southeast Minneapolis. Some of their graffiti has totalled thousands of dollars in property damage.
Hildreth said catching taggers in the act is the surest way to guarantee prosecution. But even then, he added, most serve less than 30 days in jail before moving to a different area or starting anew under a different tag name.
“It’s just for evidentiary purposes,” said Hildreth, commenting on the photographs police found. “But it’s a very labor intensive thing to do, and for little outcome.”
For underage taggers, their parents may soon be held liable for their graffiti.
The Minneapolis City Council is considering an ordinance that would fine parents $100 for each offense committed by a minor and hold them liable for up to $1,000 in property damage.
The ordinance would also charge property owners clean-up costs if they fail to act within 10 days, and allow police to arrest individuals carrying tagging materials.
“They call it an art,” Hildreth said. “But it’s vandalism. It’s a crime if you’re putting it on other’s people property, who don’t want it there.”
Many taggers, however, challenge the concept of private property.

In other police news:
ù A man allegedly assaulted his girlfriend early Wednesday morning and damaged a car belonging to a witness who stopped alongside Riverside Avenue to help her.
According to the police report, the suspect bruised his girlfriend’s forehead and forearms after she told him she intended to sell her car to a person he didn’t like.
When a driver stopped and called 9-1-1 on his cell phone, the man allegedly kicked the passenger door of the 1996 Lexus, causing an estimated $250 in damage.
Minneapolis police arrested the 20-year-old man and took him to the Hennepin County Jail, where he was charged with domestic assault, property damage and booked on several outstanding warrants.
Robert Koch covers police and courts and welcomes comments at [email protected]