City Attorney Herrera, with SFPD Chief Greg Suhr. San Francisco Police played a key role in helping Herrera bring suit against a prolific graffiti vandal.

Herrera wants graffiti vandal halted in costly lawless spree

S.F. Superior Court today sets hearing on Herrera’s motion for preliminary injunction to stop vandalism that has so far caused at least $88,000 in public property damage
City Attorney Herrera, with SFPD Chief Greg Suhr. San Francisco Police played a key role in helping Herrera bring suit against a prolific graffiti vandal.
City Attorney Herrera, with S.F. Police Chief Greg Suhr. The SFPD played a central role in helping Herrera file suit against a prolific graffiti vandal.

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 21, 2015)—City Attorney Dennis Herrera is asking a Superior Court judge to preliminarily enjoin actions by an accused graffiti vandal whose spree of lawlessness over the last 34 months in San Francisco is alleged to have caused more than $88,000 in damage to public property—and thousands more in private property damage.

Herrera’s motion for preliminary injunction against Cozy Terry was the subject of an ex parte hearing late this morning in San Francisco Superior Court, where Judge Suzanne Bolanos granted key procedural steps sought by Herrera’s office. Judge Bolanos issued an “Order to Show Cause” to Terry—affording the defendant an opportunity to argue why the court should deny Herrera’s injunction request—and also scheduled a court hearing for Terry to appear on Sept. 30, at 9:30 a.m.

Cozy Terry, whose graffiti monikers include Coze, Coz, Coze One and multiple other variations on her first name, has previously been arrested and cited by the San Francisco Police Department for graffiti, and is implicated in dozens of incidents involving her eponymous scrawl. Evidence supporting Herrera’s motion and underlying civil action includes hundreds of photographs and police and witness declarations, of the defendant engaged in graffiti vandalism. A 111-page expert declaration by SFPD Officer Martin Ferreira, a court-qualified authority on graffiti crime, offers compelling insights into the defendant’s culpability—much of it based on Terry’s brazen self- promotion of her vandalizing feats on such social media platforms as Instagram, Flickr and a Tumblr account Terry tellingly entitled “fuckitburnitttt” and “Hate the System.”

“Graffiti vandalism aims to victimize all of us—by robbing public resources and befouling public services, by blighting our neighborhoods and betraying our laws,” Herrera said. “Cozy Terry is a prolific and unrepentant graffiti vandal, who has so far been undeterred by laws or law enforcement. 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. With the civil suit I filed against Ms. Terry last week, my office will aggressively seek compensatory and punitive damages, and penalties—in dollars, community service, or both—for the harms she so maliciously inflicted. Yet even before that, the defendant’s persistent lawlessness warrants a tough preliminary injunction, both to protect taxpayers from further harms and to bring certainty to the escalating consequences of her vandalism should it continue. I’m grateful to the San Francisco Police Department—especially Officer Ferreira—for the extraordinary work they’ve done to help us build this case. I’m thankful, too, for the leadership of Board of Supervisors President London Breed, whose legislation last year to comprehensively overhaul city graffiti policies enabled my office to be a stronger, more effective partner than ever to pursue and punish this needless and expensive public nuisance.”

“Graffiti is not a victimless crime. It damages Muni buses and public parks, hurts small businesses, blights our homes, and costs the City over 20 million dollars every year,” said Board of Supervisors President London Breed.  “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. I want to thank Mr. Herrera for his partnership on this issue and for the case he is now bringing. And thank you to SFPD Officer Martin Ferreira. Together we are fighting back against graffiti crimes that hurt San Franciscans.”

Herrera’s motion for a preliminary injunction seeks to prohibit Terry from possessing any implement known to be used in graffiti vandalism; to strictly limit her contact with Muni vehicles to direct travel between her residence, place of employment, study or worship; 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 civil action Herrera filed against Terry on Aug. 14, 2015 alleges multiple counts of illegal public nuisances under state and local law; and two counts for trespass causing damage to personal and real property under state law. The suit contends that Terry’s intentional 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. Terry’s alleged attack on a MUNI ticket kiosk in March of this year caused irreparable destruction that will require replacing portions, at a cost to city taxpayers of $25,830. Although Herrera’s action can recover damages to San Francisco’s public assets, the suit additionally references evidence of Terry’s vandalism against non-city public properties, including those owned by BART and Caltrain.  Terry’s alleged vandalism of the Glen Park BART Station, committed in conjunction with other vandals on Oct. 21, 2013, cost $34,572.63 for removal efforts, which were not fully successful on marble and some steel surfaces, where remnants of her graffiti remain visible.

If successful, Herrera’s suit could secure full compensatory damages from Terry for the $53,788.24 in costs that her attacks inflicted on city property, in addition to other compensatory damages to be determined at trial; possible punitive damages for her willful and malicious conduct; civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each qualifying incident of graffiti vandalism Terry committed during the preceding year; and attorneys’ fees and other costs to the city to investigate and litigate the civil action. Should the city prevail, the court could order the defendant to pay penalties to the city in funds, community service, or a combination of both, in addition to injunctive and other relief.

The case is: City and County of San Francisco v. Cozy Terry et al., San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CGC 15-547395, filed August 14, 2015. Complete documentation on the case, including all photographic exhibits, is available below.

Photo Exhibits

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Court Pleadings

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President Breed’s Graffiti Legislation

President Breed’s graffiti legislation is Board of Supervisors file # 140261, signed by the Mayor in May of 2014. The official title is: “Park, Police, Public Works Codes – Graffiti Prevention and Abatement.”  For more information, see:

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