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In tagging crackdown, man charged for some fresh graffiti after cop spotted him standing 'awkwardly' next to a postal box with a marker

A Mattapan man faces six counts of felony graffiti after, police say, an officer out specifically to look for taggers spotted him standing next to one of those green postal "relay" boxes in the South End with a white marker in his hand.

Police say the officer noticed that Logan O'Keefe, 19, was standing "awkwardly" next to the box and that not only did he not have any mail in his hand, the box wouldn't have accepted it even if he did, because it's only used by postal workers to store and pick up mail for delivery.

As O’Keefe walked farther away, the officer approached to inspect the mailbox and observed a fresh graffiti “tag” on it. The officer observed a similar tag on a second nearby mailbox. The officer followed O’Keefe as he walked onto Montgomery Street, watching as O’Keefe took out a cell phone and took a picture of a third similar tag, this one larger on the side of a residential building. The officer continued to follow the suspect observing him make several more tags, while requesting an additional unit so that he may affect a safe arrest. O’Keefe was in the process of tagging a silver vent pipe in the area of 671 Tremont Street when the officers were able to arrest him without further incident.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

Photography, drawings of the artwork, of the calligraphy can make the public debate more relevant, preserve historic relevance. Please make available a gargantuan wall/canvas and opportunity for an art school program.

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Tagger ID's are not art. They're ID tags.

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One does not exclude the other.

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Does anyone here remember the public graffiti wall, erected by the city, on the side of the Park Street T entrance in the mid-70s? Probably not; I'm ancient.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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They used to let people tag their hearts out on the minuteman bikeway side of the building, . I'm not sure if they were told to stop that. Every so often they would paint it over, but now it seems to have been shut down

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As in multiple years in prison and your life ruined forever? I'm sure some might say I'm soft but that sounds a little extreme. And I suppose the taxpayer foots the bill for this incarceration. Unless the guy has some huge record wouldn't a thousand hours of cleaning up graffiti be more appropriate?

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Unless the guy has some huge record wouldn't a thousand hours of cleaning up graffiti be more appropriate?

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A couple years per charge, but if he was convicted and the sentencing judge was a complete jerk they could run consecutively, so up to 12 years. I entirely agree with your overall point.

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Starting with the really draconian charges gives the DA's office room to reduce the charges to misdemeanors with a sentence of community service as part of a plea bargain.

EDIT: Also, the guy is really lucky if he gets off without a charge of defacing federal government property; i.e. the relay mailbox.

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Not with power washer. Only with a toothbrush.

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This seems so much more important than cracking down on unsafe driving practices. A little white mark on an ugly utilitarian object is so much worse than dead pedestrians. Way to go, BPD, bringing another deranged criminal to justice.

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Boston's a big city, with hundreds and hundreds of cops (are we up to 2,000 BPD employees yet?). That means you can have cops who solve murders and cops who deal with crashes and cops who make sure restaurants don't padlock emergency exits - and, yes, cops who look for people defacing public property.

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We can, but we don't

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If you read the post from BPD, the perp also made "a third similar tag, this one larger on the side of a residential building." So he was also damaging other people's property. If you don't mind it on your property then by all means invite the taggers to go to town on your walls, car, bike, etc.

Rampant petty crime -- including graffiti -- was one of the key reasons for the exodus of the middle class and wealthy from the cities in the second half of the 20th century. We don't need to repeat that mistake.

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they're making Boston unlivable.

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to put downward pressure on housing prices (both rental and sale). It would also make a lot more room for creative artists and the venues they exhibit and perform in.

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Rampant petty crime -- including graffiti -- was one of the key reasons for the exodus of the middle class and wealthy from the cities in the second half of the 20th century.

Yeah, it was totally petty crime, and not all the white people (my parents included) escaping the wave of *gasp* black neighbors.

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A friend of mine's parents moved from Dorchester to Randolph in the early 1990s. One of their annoyances was that people kept on spray painting their triple decker. Would you know who began moving to Randolph in the 1990s? If not, you'd be surprised to find out.

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Seems like a waste of police and legal system resources. Here's a novel idea. Why don't we give these "artists" a proper venue to express their creative prowess and to hone their skills so they can eventually become better artists. Is that too progressive? No shortage of abandoned and busted out places in Boston. In other cities, artists have transformed abandoned eyesores into beautiful murals. Graf is part of city culture like it or not.

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Between some wanna be tagging his stupid name on stuff and someone creating beautiful street art. I've been to Valparaíso, Chile and the grafitti murals are beautiful. I really don't think the people who have been recently nabbed and reported on here at UHUB qualify as the next Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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If we crack down on kids honing their skills on small things like this how will they get better and why on earth will anyone take on larger projects with higher risk (because bigger projects take a lot more time, more time to get caught). These arrests lately are a war on urban culture and should be recognized as such.

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Misses the point. Taggers are not artists, anymore than a dog peeing on a mailbox is an artist. These jerks aren't about art - they are about marking things up with their "name". The illicit nature of their "work" or "art" is the entire point - its a cheap thrill. I think they need mental health care for their compulsion.

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Let’s start with the side of your home or business.

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Their abandoned home or business? Kinda missed the point there, didn't ya bud?

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My wife and I had a street artist come in and do a section of our newly renovated dining room and living room. It came out amazing. I tried adding a pic but am not 100% sure how to do that on this site

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Anyone can come in and tag over the last tag on your wall? Or just the one you choose? As I understand it this kind of tagging stakes a claim - at least in part. The whole point (to them) but is that they choose.

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They’ll still tag other places and may encourage more people to get into graffiti.There’s no respect for what is and isn’t an “acceptable” place to tag. Have you seen the newly renovated Longfellow? It’s infuriating.

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The big wall in Cambridge on the side of the Wismic's building at the SouthEast corner of Columbia Street and Broadway. Artwork Asian inspired reflecting the neighborhood.

And the forthcoming new café with outdoor seating on the SouthWest corner across the street would make the artwork appropriate to complete the urban area for the many folks currently hanging there.

Any other big walls around the Boston metropolitan area?

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You mean like the graffiti house on Green Street in JP?

That house actually looks cool. Whereas the three people arrested over the past week or two seem to only be 'tagging', which is definitely not art.

Something tells me the people "tagging" the same stupid nicknames/catchphrases/gang affiliations over and over again aren't the same type of graffiti artists that would actually go through the trouble of applying for a sanctioned spot for their 'art'.

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The Postal Police one of a hundred law enforcement agencies in Boston always get their man.

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To carving your initials in a tree or fresh concrete. Art it is not.

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Yes, this isn't so much street art as petty vandalism... which shouldn't be a felony.

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And as such the state tagging law is a felony since you can get up to two years for it. MGL c 266 s 126b. Seems a major overbid, and I wonder how they can even try to make the charge stick on almost anyone when the statute uses a wanton/recklessness standard and the SJC has said that "[I]n the absence of a likelihood of substantial injury, conduct is neither wanton nor reckless for purposes of establishing criminal responsibility." (Commonwealth v. Ruddock). Putting a dumbass tag on a mailbox is stupid, but it hardly causes "substantial injury" to the mailbox.

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Someone's been tagging the green mailboxes in this same area for years. I expect the post office repaints them twice/year, and it must take a few worker-days to do so each time.

I don't think this idiot deserves a life sentence, but repaying his damage plus some actual jail time (even if 30 days) seems quite reasonable to me, to let people know it's not a game.

Also not a game is casually riffing off of people's anonymous handles on U-Hub, so consider yourself on notice, @anonymoose.

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I wonder if this is Target's kid?

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with a white marker. Well, so much for the "artist" defense.

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If Private companies like clear channel want to litter our public space with their advertisements then I have no problem with graffiti. Graffiti is as old as man and it’s not going anywhere, fyi

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If only the police were this enthusiastic about the methadone mile, where you can watch heroin deals, injections, dope sick animals asaults. Go boston police

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By Rita Braver. Graffiti: Art or vandalism? Writing on the Wall https://www.cbsnews.com/video/graffiti-art-or-vandalism-2/

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Tagging is unrinating on territory to say "I'm here." Tagging over tags is a gangbanger telling the previous tagger to ah, go away.

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Fine. Maybe to you tagging is not art.
Fine. Maybe you don't recognize the hours put in to get the lines just right, the spacing correct, the alignment perfect.
Fine. You want to draw a line between simple names and masterpieces (so do the taggers btw).

But if you ever travel somewhere like Berlin, or Buenos Aires, or Sau Paulo, or Rio, or anywhere in Chile, or Lisbon, or Paris, or any of the global capitals filled with amazing street art, you better not ask why we dont have this in boston, because you are why.

If you attack the small, the recently starting out, those practicing the form, if you lock them up with multiple felonies and ruin their lives you are not just taking a stand against tagging you are taking a stand against art. Stop it or own it, cut out the "i'm ok with street art but not this."

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I went to high school with a prolific graffiti artist. He did a fair bit more than writing his “tag” everywhere (which I’ll admit he did, too). That said, it amazes me that people cannot fathom that others get annoyed when their property is marked up.

Of course, you can also ignore the numerous murals all of the city put up with permission of the property owners and commissioned by the City.

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