City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich announced today that his office settled an injunction lawsuit targeting one of the city's most prolific tagging crews.
The city reached resolutions with eight defendants associated with the group MTA, also known as Metro Transit Assassins, and obtained defaults against two more, Trutanich said. The notorious tagging crew is known to be active in the North Hollywood area and other parts of the city and is believed to have caused millions of dollars in damage, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
"Taggers unlawfully vandalize thousands of private and public properties each year, costing the city and its taxpayers millions of dollars in repair and cleanup costs," Trutanich said. "We must use all available legal tools to stop this vandalism, which taggers refer to as wrecking, and which blights our neighborhoods and diverts scarce resources from other community uses, such as parks, libraries and fire protection."
Under the settlements, a modified gang injunction -- enforceable throughout the state -- will be put into place prohibiting the defendants from associating with other members of MTA in public and possessing graffiti tools and requiring that they obey an adult curfew, Trutanich said.
In addition, the members are liable for substantial monetary damages and civil penalties, Trutanich said.
The settlement also requires each settling defendant to pay all court- ordered restitution for past graffiti damage, submit to an informational interview with law enforcement to enhance efforts to investigate and prosecute graffiti vandals, and to perform 100 hours of graffiti removal.
Three of the settling defendants have now completed all terms of the settlement and will be dismissed from the complaint, Trutanich said. The filing included extensive documentation of vandalism by the MTA crew, including on the banks of the Los Angeles River, highway signs, highway sound walls, billboards, bridges, buses, passenger trains, freight train cars, trucks, homes and various buildings.
More than 500 photographs of vandalism by MTA and the named defendants were collected in preparation for trial.