Across my daily travels on the internet- i stumbled across this poorly written story about a tagger from Indianapolis. Graffiti writers get caught up every day, but sometimes for one reason or another it becomes head line news. Perhaps ive been a direct victim of the local newspaper's attempts at indignity; or system with zero tolerance for a college aged artist. But just when you couldnt fathom the amount of ignorance; i read this article and i had no choice but to leave a response.
Indianapolis graffiti tagger at it again?
Posted by lepak on Mar 3 2010.
by Kent Erdahl (Fox59.com)
March 3, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS – He’s defaced buildings all across downtown Indianapolis, causing at least $100,000 in property damage. Now a notorious graffiti artist is in jail for the second time, and as FOX 59′s Kent Erdahl explains, this time he faces much stiffer charges.
Miguel Villanueva was first arrested late last year and faced at least 9 different graffiti-related charges, but after skipping out on a court date, investigators were forced to track him down early Wednesday morning. Now they say the man who calls himself “choke” might have been at it again.
“It is awful. It’s a destruction of property,” said Paul Gresk of Gresk & Singleton Law Firm.
Just a few months after Gresk moved his law firm into a new building downtown, the man known as “choke” vandalized it. When Miguel Villanueva was arrested a few months later, prosecutors thought he had begun taking responsibility for his crimes. He accepted a plea bargain on nine misdemeanor counts of vandalism, but when it was time for him to be sentenced, he was nowhere to be found. When sheriff’s deputies tracked him down over night they also found much more paint.
“Obviously the message was not delivered spending a few days in jail,” Gresk said. “I think, he’s going to be facing a longer jail term, and hopefully he can kind of think about the consequences of his actions.”
Some of the “choke” graffiti has now been painted over. It took the owner of a building on South East Street more than $2,500 to cover a tag from last April. Police say it’s very important to do this because not only are you covering up his tags, but you’re covering up gang signs as well.
“It encourages other gang activity and, at times, violent activity,” said Sgt. Matthew Mount with the Indianpolis Metro Police Department.
“We are now going to have to spend another $5,000 cleaning up his mess,” Gresk said.
Though Gresk is happy that crews are finally beginning to remove choke’s work, he’s also pleased to know the vandal faces stiffer charges. He is now charged with a total of ten felonies. Each carry a maximum of three years in jail. Now Gresk has just one more request.
“I’m hoping that the system will treat him as he’s treated the community,” Gresk said.
Though “choke” wasn’t arrested on any additional charges, prosecutors say it’s very likely that he was at it again. If you notice any graffiti on your property with the name “choke” or other gang signs such as “STS” please call the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office or IMPD.
and my bitter response:
You sick psychopaths. Why dont you have this guy clean it himself instead of crying about painting the back of your rotten building- which by the way just because it is NEW to you because you bought it- doesnt make the graffiti all over behind it new either- i suspect you are using this guy to get money to clean the back of the building. How do you expect one artist to pay for every bit of graffiti on the same wall- how is that fair? Would it be right if somebody rear ended your car and you charged him to fix the whole body?
He uses art to express himself and not violence- If your so called society is so civil and just about its laws than why dont you give him an opportunity to paint murals to pay back what he owes? A real contemporary society has to adjust to its people living inside it. Not everyone is a white baby boomer; there are new ideas and new kinds of people living in your society and its time to start adapting to it and not act like a kkklan. If a kid can steal a car, crash it into a wall and get probation- then why should an artist have to suffer jail time for painting a wall? Have you tried to give him an outlet for his artwork first? Do you expect him to be sorry for what he is passionate about? Would you expect a Christian to apologize before throwing him to the lions? If your so called mature perfect white picket fence/greased hair society doesnt approve the the artwork- then have him pay, have him scrub, have him paint OR you can throw him in jail with violent career criminals. You know damn right jail isnt big kid time-out; it is a place you created to contain societies violent failures to gang up on regular people who were a victim of your twisted justice. Your society doesnt agree with rape and murder so you put them in jail- but its PERFECTLY acceptable to you to throw non violent offenders with rapists and murders to “teach them a lesson” and turn a blinds eye? anyone who believe this is an accomplice to violence and maybe YOU should see what its like in hell like that.
ALSO it is slander to consider someones graffiti artwork "GANG activity". This is common knowledge (especially for so called professional public servants) and spreading slanderous lies against artists doesnt only destroy their reputation as an artist but it also purposely sends orders to local violent street gangs to attack artists. You know exactly what you are doing; and manipulating the law like you do is disgusting.