Sunday, April 27, 2008
This guy's got a problem
Fred Radtke, aka "the gray ghost". Who does he have in his pocket?
From New Orleans City Business Website
On April 19 a customer walked into Mojo Coffee House on Magazine Street and told employee Alicia Adams there was a strange man outside painting the side of the building.
Adams stepped outside and saw a white van parked across the street with several men standing in front of it staring at her. She looked to her left and that’s when she saw him, a tall, stocky man wearing dark sunglasses.
Adams recognized the man immediately. It was Fred Radtke, the self-appointed scourge of graffiti.
Adams said Radtke didn’t pay any attention to her. He walked across the street, grabbed another roller out of his van, walked back across the street and began to paint over markings on a telephone pole.
Adams, 24, said she asked Radtke to “please don’t paint on our private property.” His response has left her shaken and afraid for her own safety.
Adams said Radtke verbally attacked her with the most offensive of obscenities, letting her know that he could care less what she thought and was going to do whatever he wanted.
“I swear to God, I’ve been doing this for 10 years and in that time I’ve never cursed at a woman or a girl,” Radtke said. “She was the one yelling and screaming at me. ”
Radtke said he has never painted the Mojo building because the coffee house staff, who he accuses of being sympathetic to the graffiti artists, constantly harass him.
“Usually when I go to take out graffiti near that coffee shop I bring a police escort so I don’t get intimidated,” Radtke said. “If I’m taking out graffiti across the street, they walk over to us and start taking my picture. They do it all the time, which is why I need police escorts. ”
“He was yelling and screaming. He said that he never touched our building and that the 'little bitch' was lying.”
But when Estevez arrived at Mojo on April 19 just an hour after Radtke left, he said there was a large splotch of gray paint on the side of the building that had never been there before.
“I could still smell the primer paint.”
This person has a serious self image issue. He sees himself as the saviour of New Orleans' grafitti problem.
He has to have something on someone in New Orleans politics.
Mayor C. Ray Nagin, New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Warren Riley, the Louisiana State Police, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI have praised his work.
But some property owners question what separates Radtke from the vandals he is fighting.
The NOPD, however, has no intention of charging Radtke with the defacing of public or private property and praises his efforts in reducing crime and improving the city’s quality of life.
“What he’s doing is work that the city would be doing itself provided we had the resources and manpower,” said NOPD spokesman Sgt. Joe Narcisse. “He’s covering up graffiti and if the city had a team to do that it would do so. He’s not doing anything that we aren’t asking him to do.”•
More at NOLArising.com