Crime

NYC Notorious Graffiti Artist "Neo" is Ex-Cop

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

The trial of a former New York City police officer could begin as early as Thursday -- he is accused of being a notorious graffiti artist.

When graffiti covered the city in the 1970s and 80s, one of the most prominent tags was by someone named "Neo," who spray painted his name all over subway trains and on train overpasses.

Now Neo has been identified as 43-year-old Steven Weinberg, a former member of the NYPD, reports the New York Post.

In an anonymous interview published on a website called Subway Outlaws which Weinberg's attorney now confirms was indeed given by Weinberg, he recounts his career as a tagger.

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"I started ‘writing’ in Flushing, Queens, in 1979, mainly hitting up my name on the stairways in my building," he said. "Climbing on rooftops, swinging from elevated platforms, and almost getting hit by trains pulling out, is what I call fun.”

However the fun came to an end in 1995 when he joined the police department. "Sorry, but I needed a job," he said.

However his police career came to an abrupt halt when he hurt his leg while on the job in 2001. He is apparently unable to walk without the aid of a cane. Weinberg collects $38,000 per year on a disability pension.

Police say he took up his old hobby, and last year he was charged with felony criminal mischief, misdemeanor making graffiti and possessing a graffiti instrument.

Police say he confessed to at least one act of graffiti, but his lawyer said that is not true.

“He hasn’t been Neo since 1988,” said attorney Patrick Broderick. “It is ludicrous because he is physically incapable of doing that.”

Weinberg in turn sued the city, saying his arrest was based on "defective information."