Category: Archive

Arresting Shamrock art in Bronx

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

When Dubliner Peter Clarke stepped out onto the street with a roller and a gallon can of Dutch Boy washable green paint, he might have figured he was just keeping up a neighborhood tradition.

On the pavement outside at 238th Street and Review Place, Clarke and a friend set about to paint a green shamrock. After all, it was March 16, the day before St. Patrick’s Day, and residents had painted on the sidewalks in celebration for more than a decade.

But the police seemed to think otherwise.

Clarke and the other man were arrested by officers from the 50th Precinct for allegedly defacing the public pavement without permission and taken into custody for the evening, Clarke’s attorney, Mark S. DeMarco, said.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Bronx DA’s office, Clarke was arrested for making graffiti and possession of graffiti tools. He must appear in court next month.

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But DeMarco said Clarke has no criminal record and that the paint could have been washed off the day after St. Patrick’s Day.

" It’s not like it’s a bunch of kids who spraypaint their school. It was to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s a tradition, I’m told, in that neighborhood for at least 10 years," DeMarco said.

One neighborhood resident who asked that his name not be used said people painted the shamrocks on 231st Street in the Bronx every year.

"Last year the cops helped people out, switched on their lights and directed traffic around the guys," the resident said.

According to one police official, some members of the community were worried about graffiti in the neighborhood; others had complained that the Irish were allowed to paint on the street but not other groups. "The word was put out that this wouldn’t be condoned this year, and a patrol caught these guys painting on the street," the source said.

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