The San Francisco City Attorney’s office is sending a message to repeat graffiti offenders who continue to tag city property: Get caught and pay the price.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a civil lawsuit against Cozy Terry on Aug. 14 for allegedly causing close to $54,000 of damage to city property with her graffiti tags that include “Coze, Coz, Coze One” and other variations of her first name.
Herrera also filed a preliminary injunction against Terry, which seeks to prohibit her from possessing any graffiti instruments and limiting her contact with Muni vehicles to just between her residence, work, study and place of worship. She would also be prohibited from injuring or damaging public or private property, and assisting others in vandalizing property.
On Friday, Herrera said Terry was the subject of an ex parte hearing in San Francisco Superior Court with Judge Suzanne Bolanos. The judge issued an order to show cause, giving Terry an opportunity to argue against the injunction filed by Herrera.
A court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30 at 9:30 a.m.
Herrera’s office said the evidence against Terry in the civil suit includes hundreds of photos showing her tags on city property, and expert declarations from the San Francisco Police Department and other witnesses. Terry’s own Instagram photos, which feature her tags on city property, were also used as evidence.
Herrera said in a statement that Terry is a prolific and remorseless vandal who continued to damage property despite previous arrests and citations by police:
“She publicly boasts of her efforts to deface others’ property, and she brings particular zeal to her vandalism of public transportation and her own neighborhood.”
The damages cited in the suit include $25,000 worth of damage to a Muni ticket booth back in March. The destruction was irreparable and portions of the booth needed to be replaced, according to Herrera’s office.
Terry is also accused of causing $27,000 worth of damage to Muni buses and vandalizing the Glen Park BART station. Crews were unable to fully remove the graffiti off the marble and some steel surfaces of the BART station, with some remnants of her tags still visible.
If the city wins its civil suit, Terry could be ordered have to pay penalties to the city funds, perform community service or a combination of both, according to the city attorney’s office.
Last year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved legislation to allow the city attorney’s office to go after serial graffiti taggers to pay for damages on city and private property. Supervisor London Breed, who sponsored the legislation, said in a statement:
“I wrote my graffiti reform legislation last year to help stop this abuse. The law creates a streamlined evidence collection system, involving multiple city departments, and enables the City Attorney to pursue civil cases against the worst offenders — as City Attorney Herrera is now doing.”