Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Suits Target Graffiti Suspects.

Byline: Lloyd Jojola Journal Staff Writer

City Requiring Compensation

Four years ago, come March, Enoch Montoya and his friend, Brian Thomason, were caught spraying graffiti on the back wall of some storage units in the 700 block of Candelaria NW.

It was about 3 p.m., and they had already been there for two hours or more when four or five police officers came up to them with guns in hand, ordering them to get on their knees and place their hands behind their heads, said Montoya, 27, who described the incident in a recent interview.

They were taken to the Downtown jail before being released an hour and a half later.

They were charged with committing "unauthorized graffiti," but the misdemeanor charges, unlike the paint, didn't stick. Their cases were dismissed a few months later, according to Bernalillo County Metro Court records.

"I thought it was dead, something I would not have to worry about," Montoya said.

He believed that until a couple of weeks ago. That was when he was served with a court summons notifying him that the city of Albuquerque had filed a civil suit against him and Thomason claiming the duo was responsible for more than $15,000 in graffiti damage.

The city now wants them and dozens of other alleged graffiti vandals or their parents to pay for the costs of cleanup.

"I was just struck silent," Montoya said about receiving the summons. "I can understand them trying to receive compensation, but the amount they're asking for is a bit unfair. …

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