Cozy Terry in action

City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed suit against Cozy Terry, “a prolific and unrepentant graffiti vandal,” who is alleged to have caused nearly $90,000 in damage to public property over the past few years with her Coze, Coz and similar tags you’ve likely seen around town.

Herrera’s office will seek compensatory and punitive damages, and penalties, “in dollars, community service, or both.”

And in addition to the civil suit, Herrera is seeking a preliminary injunction to prohibit Terry “from possessing any implement known to be used in graffiti vandalism; to strictly limit her contact with Muni vehicles…to prohibit her from injuring or damaging public or private property in San Francisco; to prohibit her from aiding or assisting others in graffiti vandalism; and to require her adherence to all laws.”

The suit, City and County of San Francisco v. Cozy Terry et al., contends that Terry’s acts of graffiti vandalism caused “no less than $53,788.24 in damages” to property owned by the City and County of San Francisco, including $27,475.64 to Muni buses alone.

Not included in the suit, as the City can only recover damages to San Francisco’s public assets, is $34,572.63 is damages to the Glen Park BART Station, “committed in conjunction with other vandals on Oct. 21, 2013,” the remnants of which remain visible to this day.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by SFer

    If it were up to me, graffiti taggers (note: not “artists” as some call them) would be put into hard labor prison camps doing paint work.

    Furthermore, I believe stores like 1:AM in SF that cater towards these vandals should bear some weight in terms of checking and recording IDs of people who buy paraphernalia.

    • Posted by Oh you Know It's True

      do you recommend this for companies that deface city property for advertising?

      no?

      thought not. double standard much?

    • Posted by Sol Mission

      Good lord – you folks are everything that is wrong with the “new improved” San Francisco.

  2. Posted by anon

    Hooray for the Coze1! Graffiti is art. Thanks for adding some color to an increasingly ugly city.

    • Posted by Flash

      I hope you’re trolling but, if not, please post the location and description of your home and car so people can “add some color” and “art” to your property instead of vandalizing our property.

      • Posted by Futurist

        Exactly, he trolls a lot here; always baiting too. Grafitti is not art! it’s destruction of public property.

        • Posted by Flash

          Plus, the complaints has a bunch of pictures of her “work”, and we’re not talking beautiful murals here. She just spray paints “Coze1” on walls and buildings and sometimes tags it on Muni buses and stop signs. Sometimes she also writes her crew’s name, DBK, which apparently stands for “done by kriminals”. Yeah, she’s really classing up the place with all this “art”!

        • Posted by anon

          There are many people posting under the name ‘anon.’ It was the default user name when SocketSite launched.

          I think The City should tattoo “Muni” on the perp’s forehead.

          • Posted by Futurist

            Then if you don’t want to be associated with “anon” in any way, why keep using it?

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        Exactly. I don’t even find Banky’s stuff “art”, but at least I can see some artistic aspect to murals and such in public spaces… but tagging someone’s home, van, etc. is nothing but pure vandalism.

        • Posted by REPornaddict

          All different tastes, but Banksy is amazing in my opinion. Satirist, absurdist, irreverent. His new Dismaland site I was reading about today sounds incredible

          • Posted by Flash

            Yes, Banksy’s Dismaland looks incredible is an example of real art done legally (AFAIK) and not defacing other people’s property.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          Well we’ll have to disagree on Banksy then. I find his work interesting, pointed, and humorous. Speaking of whom, he’s opening a huge installation show with Damien Hirst and other artists in Weston-super-Mare today: Dismaland.

        • Posted by Jimmy The House Flipper

          The thing about Banksy that distinguishes his art from this person is that adding one of his pieces to a wall or building substantially INCREASES its value, unlike the tagger in question.

          • Posted by usopredictible

            Comments on a real estate website denigrating graffiti? Who would’ve expected that?

          • Posted by Sol Mission

            Hysterical.

        • Posted by EBGuy

          I was pretty neutral on Banksy until I saw Exit Through the Gift Shop. Now that’s an E-ticket.

    • Posted by zoli

      suggest you take a class on what art is. graffiti is vandalism unless one has permission to do it. all other explanations are bullshit.

  3. Posted by Flash

    A civil suit is great, but can’t they also prosecute her? Even if graffiti is a misdemeanor, can’t repeat offenses warrant jail time? Preferably consecutive for each of multiple counts?

    And yes, 1:AM are total scumbags for supporting and profiting from street vandalism.

    • Posted by SFer

      In my opinion it should be a felony, akin to felony trespassing or malicious destruction of property (which could carry a felony along with it). These kids do it because they know that at most they’ll get a slap on the wrist. What we need to do is slap some cuffs on these kids, throw ’em in jail, fine their parents and give them a permanent rap sheet.

      Even neighborhoods that have been previously immune to graffiti have in the past few years started to show some signs. It’s quite alarming.

  4. Posted by Colgate

    Blame the parents. They have no idea what their child is doing. Fat chance the city will ever see this money.

  5. Posted by Flash

    Here’s video of one of these SF “street artists” caught last week spraying racist hate onto someone’s garage door.

  6. Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

    My speculation:

    Criminal prosecutions are harder and more expensive – a high standard of proof, and the defendant is entitled to a lawyer (at taxpayer expense). Also, I don’t think you can get an injunction (a court order prohibiting certain conduct, such as possession of graffiti tools and paint) under a criminal prosecution. Also, doubt any SF judge would impose prison time for spray painting a lot of stuff. A civil suit makes more sense here. Get an injunction, and if she then violates that, it is easier to lock her up. Also, you can more easily get a damages award in a civil suit (i.e. make her pay).

  7. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    The complaint linked above is pretty hilarious. Quite a bit more colorful than the standard legal document. For example this quote:

    “In the comment section on Tumblr, below the photograph, Defendant wrote “COZE muthafuxkin ONE BITCHHH. Z’s on mines!!,” indicating that she owned the “Coze” tag and that “Coser” was too similar a tag to her liking.”

    Section 17 is almost a tutorial on how to be come a successful tagger.

    Though this lawsuit is going to be a hassle for the defendant it creates great fodder to elevate her status within the tagger community.

    • Posted by Flash

      Yeah, the complaint is definitely good reading. Does anyone have a link the the complaint’s exhibits? And how about a mug shot from her 2012 arrest? In 2013 she was only “cited”, so maybe no mug shot, but Exhibit R apparently has pictures from that episode.

  8. Posted by Patrick

    Now maybe they’ll go after Zamar, the graffiti vandal who received a pretentiously artsy profile in Hoodline

  9. Posted by medalist

    looks like well over $90k in billable city attorney staff hours to research and draft this complaint.

  10. Posted by jayjay

    If it were a Banksy, I’d totally be cool with it, but this type of crap these vandals call “art” is nothing but an eyesore. Knowing it will be removed at the cost of tax payers, these vandals should pay up. Get her Herrera!!!

    • Posted by sf

      SF is so trendy my eyes hurt.

    • Posted by usopredictible

      or they could just leave it alone and let it accumulate and it would become part of the urban fabric like in Berlin and we’d all go on with our lives and have less to stress about

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        Why? Why should any property owner have to let some random stranger decide how their building should look? And why stop there – don’t like the color of your neighbor’s house? Change it – after all, eventually they’ll “go on with [their] lives and have less to stress about”. Rip out their plants, if you don’t like ’em. Pee on their stoop – after all, it will just “accumulate and [] become part of the urban fabric”.

        In short, why should any property owner bother to make any effort in your world, if any stranger can come along and change it?

        • Posted by Sol Mission

          Unjust systems should be challenged with direct action. Street Art is civil disobedience that challenges us. A rich man can put his messages on any building, any street bench, any wall espousing things far more ugly than Coze could paint. A poor man has no access to such outlets of opinion or artistic expression available to him because this system we live under doesn’t want to hear from him. Our so-called capitalist democracy is a joke perpetrated by the elitist landowners on the working, marginalized and disabled – any step street artists take toward bringing it down is a step in the right direction.

          To your question specifically, a good strong argument can be made that property owners shouldnt exist to begin with – that the piece of land that you (literally) slaved away to purchase isn’t yours and never was.The trappings of the system – the house, the car, the picket fence – are all here to keep you from seeing your own plight. You are sheep being led to your own destruction, happily jailing those who seek to show you there may be another way… or those who just hope to bring some color and light into an increasingly grey San Francisco.

          P.S. you folks had better check your San Franciscan cards… they dont seem to be legit.

      • Posted by Futurist

        Despite what people think, having been to Berlin recently, quite a bit of the graffiti there is not art, but simply vandalism, and trash. It makes buildings and neighborhoods look dirty and undesirable.

        The art graffiti on the Wall is a different thing.

        • Posted by usopredictible

          Dirty and undesirable… that explains the huge influx recently of young people and money into those neighborhoods you’re talking about. You’re obviously a very old person who’s out of touch with the direction things are headed….

          • Posted by Futurist

            Is that you “anon” who allegedly lives in Tokyo? Yes, I’m very out of touch with what makes great neighborhoods, and a lot of graffiti in Berlin and HERE is trash.

          • Posted by usopredictible

            Nope, I live in SF, where I own property that gets graffitied all the time.

  11. Posted by Willow

    Vandalism. 99% of the stuff is awful.

  12. Posted by BobN

    $90K sounds way too low.

  13. By calling this Vandal “Prolific” you are feeding into her ego. Please don’t do that.

  14. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    Give her a face tattoo she didn’t ask for, then call it “art”.

    • Posted by usopredictible

      Now that is violent. Completely different from graffiti. Personally I think punishments should fit the crime instead of being exponentially greater than the crime.

  15. Posted by CHANDLER WHITE

    Graffiti is cowardly and intrusive to others. It’s sneaky, forceful and aggressive and violent in it’s own way. It’s a red flag in an adult’s life if they are lurking around with a back pack full of spray paint. If spraying some fake name on another person’s wall is the center of your day and your contribution to a city, you need to step back and look at where you are in life. That’s what you did today? When you left your home in the morning, writing your name on a wall was your plan for the day? That’s a very sad and small life.

    Graffiti’s art ranking is just below writing your name in the snow in wee wee or doing a number two in somebody else’s doorway in the dark of night.

    • Posted by usopredictible

      You getting slapped in your face is “violent”.

      Graffiti is not.

      Learn what words mean.

      • Posted by Brian M

        let’s go break usopredictable’s windows, shall we? Maybe puncture his car tires (or bicycle tires if he is car-less). Maybe piss on his doorstep or in his apartment hallway?

        None of these are violent crimes or a problem at all. Heck, if you have good aim, maybe you can create an “art piece” with your urine stream. Usopredictable is 100% ok with that. Adds color and piquant odor to a boring city!

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          Yup. Not to mention the great deal of validation that’s gone into the “window box” theory of neighborhood safety… All one need to is look at the NYC subway in 1980, versus 1990, to see the incredible difference that clean and well-maintained stock – instead of over-tagged cars that simply telegraphed defeatism – to see why graffiti has such a horrible impact.

        • Posted by usopredictible

          Never said they weren’t a problem. But they’re not violent. Violent means something – seriously, look it up. Graffiti is not violent. Making Clear Channel cough up some dough for paint is not violent. If you think it is, then you’re honestly completely insane.

          Also, why would I be car-less in a city like SF?

        • Posted by usopredictible

          I don’t know Brian. It just seems a lot easier than people like you getting so angry all the time, doesn’t it? You could just relax and not worry about it anymore. That kind of attitude is good for you heart – it’s medically proven.

        • Posted by Futurist

          usop doesn’t seem to know the difference between pure trash vandalism and respect for a city.

          • Posted by usopredictible

            respect for a city? you do know that a city is a nonliving entity that could care less about you right?

            simple-minded people like you are pure trash…. and the reason sf is going to the dogs

            i enjoy watching the graffiti build up on my fence – it adds color to the city and shows respect to sf by allowing the city to be a place where dialogue happens in public

          • Posted by Futurist

            Thanks anon. I got a good laugh from that one.

          • Posted by usopredictible

            How do you feel about futurism’s connection to facism?

          • Posted by Futurist

            I like the design ideology of facadism on some projects. It lends a certain element of casual Parisian life to our town.

    • Posted by Sol Mission

      It’s funny – my world is so much bigger since i took up the spray can. Today I’ve gone out and sprayed in 3 neighborhoods. I sprayed the logo from Pulse Nightclub against the iconic Las Vegas sign – a message, I hope, to my neighbors that they mustn’t forget these tragedies and must work towards a solution before the next tragedy falls on their favorite club or their child’s school. I don’t know you and don’t presume (as you do) to know what your day is like, but if I had to bet I’d lay my money on my day having done more to better the world than yours. Not so small, I think, my life. Not nearly as small as your mind.

  16. Posted by Paul

    Ride the London underground these days and be surprised by the spotlessness. Paris has been cleaned up and no need to mention Tokyo. We have been left behind by cities who have literally gotten their shit together, out streets are shame graffiti or not. Even cafe owners in SF don’t make an effort to clean the front of their places.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      agree. SF is one of the worst of the major world cities.

  17. Posted by Javier Ruiz

    Paragraph 34 even the City forgets Muni is not an acronym.

  18. Posted by AnonAnon

    The Coz caught up in graffiti? Doesn’t he have enough problems with all the drug and rape claims?

    • Posted by usopredictible

      your reading comprehension skills are pretty minimal huh?

  19. Posted by Cody

    The big problem is with liberal judges who give vandals a slap on the hand or less. This is why the district attorney is prosecuting. A business owner had a new awning put over her door on Castro Street which cost a lot of money only to have it vandalized overnight. Disheartening.

    • Posted by Brian M

      Awnings are so BORING. Better to burn out the building and provide a canvas for our artistes.

  20. Posted by BayviewSF

    There should be a criminal charges, a monetary penalty is too weak and she may not pay for it any way.

  21. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I disagree. Keep the jails clear of nonviolent people.

    A monetary penalty is perfect and should sting enough to cause the defendant to reconsider whether to continue with vandalism. In the mean time she’s can continue working and build a life. Throwing people in jail throws a monkey wrench in someone career and once they get back out they are faced with starting from nothing to get a job or going back to crime.

    • Posted by parklife

      I agree about jail being nonproductive for crimes such as this, but some mandated cleaning of graffiti and litter pick-up provides a nice punishment as well as helping to clean up public and private spaces. Of course, these tasks can and should be performed around work hours.

  22. Posted by Stop Driving

    Put these dirtbags in work camps. They have no consideration for other peoples’ property or the hard work it takes to undo their sloppy doodling.

    • Posted by Mjane

      FYI — COZY IS her REAL Name. (She was named after her great grand-mother Who was from Hawaii) and COZE is not a ” made up”, or actually even a special “tag” name. she s been called “Coze” since she was born.

      GOT That?

  23. Posted by MJane

    Shame shame shame on you guys – DONT EVVVVVENNN Know this young lady you KNOW NOTHING about her except for the fact that she s done tagging. And yeah — SHE IS a lady. All this political bullsh*t is disgusting. You dont know a thing about her life, so Im asking: Why hasnt anyone asked WHY SHE feels the need to tag, Being as she doesnt really fit the tagger profile at all?? Like I said— you dont KNOW HER. She is kind, and quiet. Loving, and sweet and a silly sense of humor. She s not a bad person, she also raised her little nephew for almost 3 years. Quit school to do it by herself, quit school to do it. and when HE was barely one year old.

    Coze, since she was a young girl, shed walk in and light up a room. Still does. And she does nottt have money neither do either of her parents. In addition, Since every friggin piece of media has absolutely dissed her and wrecked any chance of her continuing education nor any chance of a decent career, where in the helllll would the city of SF think shed be coming up with some outrageous “fine”? So, question: HAS the sf graffiti tagging stopped? Is your police Dept, courts, judges, et al in San Francisco still out looking for those OTHER taggers that have their name on the walls all over the city? How many arrests in the past few years? How many fines you collecting from them? I dont believe we’ve SEEN one other article of an arrest for tagging since hers. Did we miss something? anywhere? Anymore Coze tags?

    why are you targeting a girl who s grown up in San Francisco (and it hasnt been a real easy life for her) and she did not grow up privileged. Because you THOUGHT YOU MIGHT Get $rom her parents?? sorry, but [they are] Penny poor and cannot help you. You people are ignorant and sicken me!

  24. Posted by Mjane

    To Milkshake YOU WROTE: “IN The meantime she can continue working and build her life?”

    do you have any idea, how many companies big and small nowadays look up prospective employees on the internet to find out as much information as they can before they will even schedule an interview? Do you know how many times stories were published in the newspaper, and how many channels on tv. And splattered everywhere on the internet youtube, facebook, etc along with threats on her life and maiming? Would YOU Hire her if she was qualified?

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