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Legalized Vandalism and Vigilantism in New Orleans January 21, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Citizen Journalism, Debrisville, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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What a mean spirited little golum is this Fred Radtke? A vigilante who dashes gray paint over public and private property wherever he spots graffiti or advertising posters, who is allowed to roam the streets with impunity and deface public and private property at whim, sometimes covering public safety signs (stop signs, for example) in his demented quest to cover all of the city’s graffiti.

An interesting turn of urban life is all it was, until Radtke took off after folk artist Michael Dingler and his NOLA Rising project. Today’s Citibusiness weekly reports that Radtke initiated a complaint and resulted in Dingler be charged with 1,100 counts of unlawfully posting signs on telephone poles that could cost him more than $50,000 in fines.

Dingler explains his act of civic art making on the NOLA Rising blog in a June 2007 posting. This is a public art installation, not criminal activity. Sadly, the N.O.P.D. seems to agree with Radtke, who’s own clearl acts of vandalism of public and private property they condone and even encourage.

The New Orleans Police Department, however, condones Radtke’s actions. NOPD often calls him directly to cover graffiti and spokesman Sgt. Joe Narcisse said they have no intention of charging Radtke with any crimes.

Here’s an interesting response from street artist unknownparts which found on Flickr.

radtke.jpg

I can’t believe that the city has given tens of thousands of dollars to some mean-spirited freak so he can spread his own form of ugly paint-based vandalism all over public and private property at his own whim. I have no problem with the city removing or covering obvious gang tags. However, by going after street artists like the NOLA Rising group or even unknownparts and his sort–artists who appropriate public space for what is arguably art–Radtke is no different than the tagger thugs.

This is insane. I just fired of a letter to my City Council Person Shelly Midura demanding Radtke be required to return the tens of thousands of city tax dollars he’s been given, that all charges against Dingler be dropped, and that the N.O.P.D officers who colluded in Radtke’s vendetta against Dingler should be required to apologize, if not in fact be fired for their collusion in Radkte’s own campaign of vandalism.

What NOLA Rising has done is a tremendous work of civic betterment, one tiny poster at a time, contributed to by tens if not hundreds of people. It is a bright spot in the gray landscape of our continuing disaster, a landscape not improved one bit by Radtke’s own gray tags. It is not Dingler that should be stopped and punished but Radtke, and everyone in city government–in City Hall or the N.O.P.D–who has supported him

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Comments»

1. Stephen McNair - January 21, 2008

I heard him speak at this VCC meeting: http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/metro/index.ssf?/base/news-26/1198048754220760.xml&coll=1

He lies like a rug just to get people off his back and then turns around and does whatever he wants. A true menace to society.

http://gumbofile.wordpress.com/

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2. Suspect Device: The Blog » Hey, Fred Radtke - January 22, 2008

[…] Mark digg_url = ‘http://suspect-device.com/blog’; digg_bgcolor = ‘cbcab6’; digg_skin = […]

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3. mominem - January 22, 2008

Perhaps the solution is to get NOLA Rising and Michael Dingler some grants.

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4. Markus - January 22, 2008

Looking at the CitiBusiness story, I wonder if first we need to work on his legal defense fund.

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5. claudia - January 22, 2008

the grey ghost painted the side of the building I work at… there was nothing there to cover over, he just came down the block painting stop signs and walls…

I find this behavior costing local business’s money… not to mention the stop sign he was covering over.

Nola Rising deserves better. Afterall, some of the street signs he put up, serve a purpose. When the city didn’t replace the street signs, someone did. If you’re going after nola rising, then you might as well go after Dr. Bob too, and all the other people who have contributed to the artistic qualities around this city.

Someone should go after the ghost, and have him repaint all the things he has painted on that didn’t need his grey paint. Stop this worm…. enough!!

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6. claudia - January 22, 2008

in the words of Dr. Bob, be nice or leave!!

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7. Gentilly Girl » The Grey Ghost Is a Grey “Ghoul” - January 23, 2008

[…] fuck over removable messages of hope. (Unless of course, you have no hope in Life.) More here, and here, and here, and here, and […]

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8. N.O. JOHN - January 31, 2008

Fred is worse then the graffiti artist. If the wall is 7ft by 7ft and the graffiti takes up 5ft by 5ft of the surface, paint the whole fucking wall asshole. Your gray stains make this city look like shit. The city needs to paint all city walls with murals. I guarantee the graf kids won’t disrespect good art. -N.O.JOHN

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9. NoLa Rising Founder Beats Trumped Up City Charges « Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans - May 22, 2008

[…] vandal Fred Radtke (a.k.a. The Grey Ghost), who had used his connections to the NOPD to have municipal charges filed against Dingler for the posting of public art at sites in New […]

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10. Be Nice or Leave « Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans - July 25, 2008

[…] still waiting for Shelly Midura to send me the Official List list of police-sanctioned forms of armed vigilantism. I mean, if they condone this fuckmook walking around with a pistol in his belt I would like to […]

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