Black marks (and other colors): Nothing gets residents of the French Quarter more worked up than graffiti smeared on the walls of their neighborhood and the surrounding area. The state even made it a felony to desecrate the walls of historic buildings, but it's not an easy crime for cops to nail someone on. When they do manage to arrest someone on graffiti charges, judges just don't seem to take it seriously (Like the housepainter remarking on his shoddy work: "Can't see it from my house.").
More graffiti arrests?: Maybe yes, maybe no. The 8th District's community coordinator, Sgt. Jonette Williams, posted a notice (on Facebook, of all places) bragging about 2 arrests for spraying graffiti. The trouble is, one arrest shows up in court records, the other does not.
Graffiti right under our noses: The only other culprit we knew who was hit with the new graffiti law making tagging in the French Quarter and other historic areas a felony punishable by up to 2 years in jail got off easy.
Tale of two crimes: They both put a single bullet in the head of their victims. One victim survived; the other died. Both shooters were caught and charged for their crimes. The one whose victim survived was sentenced to 55 years in prison; the one whose victim died was sentenced to 30 years.
Justice? Hardly. Here's how it went down:
- Latrell Coleman, 19 and a black dude with a record in Jefferson Parish, was in the 100 block of Bourbon Street (just off Canal Street) on a busy Halloween night in 2010. While 8th District cops were breaking up one fight, he pulled a pistol and popped another 20-year-old black dude in the head with one shot. The victim was hauled to the hospital in stable condition while detectives determined it was Coleman who pulled the trigger. Three days later, U.S. Marshals tracked him to Norcross, GA and arrested him for attempted murder.
- Ashleigh Thornton, then a 21-year-old white chick with major drug problems, was, according to cops, responsible for the last murder in the city before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. They say she killed Joe Wongchoy in his bar, Polynesian Joe's, 859 Magazine St., with a single 9mm shot to the back of his head on 8.27.05. A Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy stopped her in Metairie a short time later with drugs and the gun and booked her on drug charges; she even admitted to a boyfriend she had popped the guy.
So here's what we've got:
- Saturday (6.30.12) 10:20 p.m.: A 33-year-old white guy was walking in the 800 block of St. Peter Street (between Bourbon and Dauphine streets) when he got into an argument with a friend. The "friend" pulled a box cutter out and slashed the victim's face. Police issued an arrest warrant for a 43-year-old Hispanic dude, Roman Figeroa.
- Saturday (6.30.12) 3:40 a.m.: A 34-year-old black man walking in the 500 block of N. Rampart Street was approached by 2 black guys he knew and they began to fight. One pulled out an icepick and stabbed the victim in the arm. Apparently the victim didn't know his assailants that well--he couldn't give the cops their names. He described the stabber as 5'7" tall, wearing a red shirt and blue jeans.
- Saturday (6.30.12) 12:40 a.m.: A 25-year-old white man walking in the 400 block of Poydras Street lost his cellphone to a black robber who came up and asked to use it. When the victim let him, the robber grabbed it from his hand and took off. The robber was described as 20 to 22 years old, 6'1" to 6'2" tall with a thin build, wearing a white shirt and red shorts.
- Friday (6.29.12) 10:15 p.m.: A 23-year-old white woman was walking near N. Rampart and Iberville streets when a black boy came up and tried to grab her purse away. When she resisted, he fled on a bicycle up Iberville toward N. Claiborne Avenue. He was described as having a slim build and wearing a blue cap, white jacket, and blue jeans.
- Friday (6.29.12) 2:00 a.m.: A 35-year-old white man was walking near Bourbon and St. Ann streets when a black guy came up and grabbed money from his hand. When the victim tried to stop him, the robber clobbered him and fled on foot. The robber was described as 5'7" tall, wearing a red shirt and blue jeans.
- Thursday (6.21.12) 1:40 p.m.: An armed black dude held up the Old Town Inn at the corner of Marigny and N. Rampart streets in the Faubourg Marigny. The front desk clerk turned over all the cash and his personal cellphone to the robber, who was described as in his 30's, 5'8" tall, with medium build, a mustache, short afro do, wearing a white shirt, yellow reflective vest, khaki pants, and a red cap.
- Sunday (6.17.12) 5:00 a.m.: A 28-year-old white stripper in Lipstixx Gentlemen's Club, 420 Bourbon St., was pushed by a black dude who then smacked her in the head with a bottle. Cops issued an arrest warrant for Terry Trevino, 39.
- Saturday (6.16.12) 11:50 p.m.: A 30-year-old white woman had her iPhone snatched from her hand by a black kid while standing on the corner of Bourbon and Dumaine streets. She described him as in his 20's, 5'10" tall, with a thin build. wearing a dark colored T-shirt.
- Friday (6.15.12) 11:05 p.m.: A 27-year-old white guy was robbed in the 500 block of Baronne Street in the CBD by 2 black dudes he met earlier in the day. They took his wallet from his waistband and then fled in a car. The victim was unable to give the cops a description of the guys though he'd been hanging out with them all day. Man, what was he smoking?
- Friday (6.15.12) 1:50 a.m.: A 53-year-old black man was walking near N. Rampart and St. Louis streets when a knife-wielding black punk who came up and began yelling obscenities. When he tried to get out of his way, the victim was stabbed in his back. Police apprehended Alfred Bernard, 20, and charged him with aggravated battery. He is being held in OPP on $20,000 bond.
- Thursday (6.14.12) 8:00 a.m.: A 32-year-old white woman who had just gotten out of her car after parking it in the 1000 block of Dumaine Street near Burgundy Street had her purse stolen by a black guy who came up and began to chat with her. After stealing her purse, he fled in his own car, believed to be a white 1990-95 Oldsmobile Cutless, which was also parked on Dumaine.
- Friday (6.8.12) 10:00 p.m.: A 59-year-old white man was approached by a black couple in the 700 block of St. Ann Street (between Bourbon and Royal streets) who stopped and asked him for the time. Then the black man grabbed the old guy's iPhone and fled on St. Ann with the chick toward the river. The victim didn't bother to report the incident until 2 days later and then was unable to give a detailed description of the perpetrators.
- Friday (6.8.12) 4:45 p.m.: A 51-year-old white woman walking behind the WWL-TV studio on Burgundy Street near Ursulines Street was knocked unconscious by a robber who then took her purse. The robber must have been equally numb not to realize that a television station probably had pretty good video surveillance cameras--which it did and which caught the suspect on tape.
- Friday (6.8.12) 5:45 a.m.: A 22-year-old white chick walking in the 1000 block of Ursulines Street near N. Rampart Street had her cellphone snatched from her hand by a black guy who fled on foot. She was too out of it to give cops a description of the robber.
- Friday (6.8.12) 4:35 a.m.: A 32-year-old white man walking in the 300 block of Bourbon Street near Conti Street had his cellphone grabbed form his hand by a black boy who fled on foot. Patrolmen on the Bourbon Street Promenade who saw the theft apprehended Roy Cryer, 19, and charged him with simple robbery. He bonded out of OPP 6 days later on $10,000 bond.
- Wednesday (6.6.12) 11:30 p.m.: A 31-year-old Hispanic man was held up at gunpoint while walking in the 100 block of N. Rampart Street, just off Canal Street. Two black guys came up, one with a gun and the other who demanded the victim's property. He gave it up and the 2 fled in an older model white sedan with a third black guy driving the getaway car.
- Tuesday (6.5.12) 11:45 a.m.: A 32-year-old white woman was struck in the face and robbed of her iPhone by 2 rag-tag black boys who snatched it from her hand in the 600 block of Frenchmen Street near Chartres Street in the Marigny Triangle. She described them as 12 to 14 years old, with thin builds, one with short twists in his hair, wearing a white T-shirt and green shorts, and the other with medium twists, wearing a dark T-shirt and dark shorts.
- Sunday (6.3.12) 4:15 a.m.: Two white women tourists, 42 and 49, were walking back to their hotel on Bourbon Street, near St. Philip Street, when a black dude jumped out at them armed with a pistol and demanded their purses. Contents of the purses were found later on St. Philip between Dauphine and Burgundy streets. The robber was described as 18 to 22 years old, with shoulder-length dreadlocks, wearing a red Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts.
- Sunday (6.3.12) 3:35 a.m.: A 24-year-old white chick was walking with 2 friends on Toulouse Street near Decatur Street when she stopped to answer a text message while the friends kept walking and rounded the corner. That gave 2 armed black punks the opportunity to rob her. They demanded her purse, when she resisted the gunman struck her across the forehead with the gun and took her purse. The robbers fled on Toulouse toward N. Rampart Street. They were both described as in their early 20's, 5'10" tall, one with shoulder-length dreadlocks, wearing a red and white striped polo shirt and blue jeans, and the other with short hair.
- Sunday (6.3.12) 12:34 a.m.: When a fight broke out on the dance floor of an unnamed club in the the 1000 block of Gravier Street in the CBD a big black guy pulled out a handgun and fired 2 shots, striking a 35-year-old Hispanic man in the back. The shooter, described as 6'2" tall, weighing 180 to 190 pounds, wearing a white collared shirt and blue jeans, managed to escape.