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Original “Stop Snitching” mural painted by Tats Cru. Photo: William Alatriste
Last month, the city buffed this “Stop Snitching” mural done by the commercial graffiti art collective, Tats Cru who had received permission from the building’s original owner when they painted it. The city didn’t like the message and issued the new owner a summons for not removing what they deemed “graffiti,” and demand it be cleaned or face fines. Sadly, the owner capitulated and gave the city a exterior canvas and an undeserved press opportunity.
Sensing they’ve been wronged and knowing there’s really no way to be compensated, other than media exposure, the group of former vandals turned legal wall painters, smartly, decided to go ahead and sue the city claiming their first amendment rights were somehow violated. It’s of course a losing argument, since the city got permission from the new owner. Now, had he refused to pay the fine, instead challenging the city on their right to classify what they consider graffiti,” these guys might have had a case and although we don’t think their rights were violated, the city was wrong in issuing the fine in the first place—as Giuliani so magnificently demonstrated during the whole dung Virgin Mary controversy, politicians make shitty art critics.