West Seattle Crime Watch: Another graffiti arrest for Ryan Cox

ORIGINAL 12:13 PM REPORT: Ryan Cox, the 32-year-old man with multiple vandalism arrests in West Seattle in the past year and a half, is in jail again, and due in court today. We discovered this while checking the King County Jail Register for an unrelated case. Police confirm he was arrested for graffiti vandalism in the 7100 block of Fauntleroy SW (map) just after 10 am Saturday. He is scheduled for arraignment this afternoon in the Mental Health Court program of Seattle Municipal Court. What is most notable here is that after his last arrest in February, for a tire-slashing incident, he pleaded guilty and was given a suspended sentence of nearly a year in jail. John McGoodwin from the City Attorney’s Office later told the Morgan Community Association (covered in this WSB report) that if Cox got into trouble again anytime “soon,” that sentence could be reinstated. After his previous arrests, for multiple incidents of graffiti vandalism (often involving a profane slur linking homosexuality with pedophilia, and police say this case involved “homophobic” graffiti as well), Cox was twice found incompetent to stand trial, with charges dismissed as a result, and sent to Western State Hospital for evaluation both times, but not committed. (The above photo was released by police while Cox was being sought in the cases for which he was arrested last December; we’ll let you know what happens today in court.)

2:03 PM UPDATE: We’re at the downtown city courthouse, where Cox’s brief hearing has just concluded. Read on for details:

Deputy city attorney Jennifer Grant pointed out Cox’s history to Judge Edsonya Charles, including the fact he is on probation for the February tire-slashing case to which he pleaded guilty, and her office’s concern about this being “ongoing behavior over time.” The city requested bail be set at $5,000, and the judge granted that, as well as the request that Cox be sent to Western State Hospital, again, for evaluation. This time, Grant told the judge, the city is asking that the evaluators consider what it would take to “restore” – medicate to the point of competency – Cox so that he could answer this as a “serious offense.” (That was not done in previous cases, but if it is decided that this will proceed that way, it would allow him to be held longer for treatment.)

Cox’s lawyer, from the public defenders at Associated Counsel for the Accused, said Cox would not object to the evaluation. He made that clear, having said loudly to his attorney, early in the hearing, that he would rather be at the hospital than in the county jail, and then asking the judge toward the hearing’s end, “Can you have me sent there tomorrow?” Judge Charles replied that she had no control over the timetable; she set his next hearing in her court for August 30th, at which time the results of the evaluation will be known.

We’ll continue to follow the case.

63 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Another graffiti arrest for Ryan Cox"

  • Dale August 9, 2010 (12:35 pm)

    Thanks for being on top of this WSB.

  • d August 9, 2010 (12:44 pm)

    Yesterday afternoon, I saw homophobic tagging on the west street side of Lincoln Park signage and wondered if it was his. Now I know.

  • Cheryl August 9, 2010 (1:02 pm)

    Such a waste of money and time. Just put him in a state hospital, or jail, or SOMEWHERE. He shouldn’t be out on the streets anymore.

  • Scar August 9, 2010 (1:15 pm)

    Lock this guy up and misplace the key.

  • Alki Area August 9, 2010 (1:57 pm)

    Wheee….and the crazy continues. A lifetime of arrests (every few months) but never for anything ‘serious’ enough. It’s nice to know you can just get away with breaking the law forever. Especially if you’re too poor to actually pay any fines and judged too mentally unstable to be ever fully responsible. So you get to just keep doing it over and over and over and over and over. Fun.

    I’m NOT a fan of 3 strikes felony laws. But something like 10 strikes maybe? At SOME point, it’s not just “bad luck” or an “off day”, you’re just a piece of s**t who lives to make others miserable.

  • Gabe August 9, 2010 (1:59 pm)

    Please distinguish between real graffiti and street artists in our city and obviously deranged men like this. Our city has a wealth of talented graffiti artists that do not write on private property and who have cultivated their art over many, many years. Here’s a few good examples:



  • WSB August 9, 2010 (2:15 pm)

    Gabe, that is why we repeatedly and intentionally use the term “graffiti vandalism” as opposed to “graffiti art,” though as of course you know, it’s vandalism if done on property you don’t own and don’t have permission to alter, no matter whether the person doing it is “deranged” or not. We use “tagging vandalism” when it’s that type of “graffiti” but here, it’s more like words scrawled with a Sharpie – TR

  • Carson August 9, 2010 (2:17 pm)

    Not sure about that first link there Gabe, but that second one sure looks like the underside of a bridge, ie public property, in other words, vandalism and NOT art.

  • Gabe August 9, 2010 (2:17 pm)

    Thanks WSB, I’m wasn’t pointing out any fault on your part, just trying to cut off any rambling about how graffiti is the root of all evil and so on. Thanks for the quick reply!

  • LMA August 9, 2010 (2:25 pm)

    they should punish the graffiti person that dose this by giving a reward to the person that catches them doing this 1000.00 would be good and also have the graffiti person repaint about 100 walls that have been tag and they should pay for the paint and all the supplies . and also pay the city a fine for there troubles .ya that would be good .

  • Gabe August 9, 2010 (2:29 pm)

    While it may legally be “vandalism” that does not eliminate it from being art. Street art and graffiti have flourished as an artform over the past forty years that is accessible to people of all socio-economic classes. I do not advocate for graffiti or street art on private property, but I do believe it brightens a city. Would you rather look at the back of a stop sign or an array of beautifully done stickers and wheatpastes? What about the underside of a freeway like that second link? Gray cement or well done graffiti? I’ll choose the latter in both cases whether they’ve done with the consent of the city/WSDOT or not.

  • Carson August 9, 2010 (2:37 pm)

    Its not art. It is never art. Its criminal and its vandalism.

  • furor scribendi August 9, 2010 (2:41 pm)

    Gabe: I hope you grow up someday – and learn not to impose your artistic impressions on your neighbors and their walls.

  • Gabe August 9, 2010 (2:46 pm)

    -Carson no point arguing with you, we obviously have a fundamental disagreement.

    -Furor scribendi, I never advocated nor will I ever for graffiti on private property with the exception of Clear Channel billboards. I appreciate the work done by our cities talented graffiti and street artists, may of whom do both gallery work and what you consider vandalism.

  • Carson August 9, 2010 (2:59 pm)

    No need to argue Gabe. The law is super clear on the issue, its not art and never will be.

  • Desiree August 9, 2010 (3:10 pm)

    AlkiArea – I’m with you. This guy has done enough damage. He should be put away for good.

  • Gabe August 9, 2010 (3:15 pm)

    Carson – the law does not mandate what is art and what’s not. No one can. Many people believe that graffiti is art whether it’s on a sanctioned or unsanctioned surface. Many do not. It is not up to you, the City of Seattle, or anyone else to define what is art and what is not.

  • Desiree August 9, 2010 (3:20 pm)

    Additionally, I just emailed Jennifer Grant, the Deputy City Attorney, to thank her for trying to make this loser take responsibility for his actions. Hope she keeps the pressure on him.

  • Jim P. August 9, 2010 (3:24 pm)

    “Please distinguish between real graffiti and street artists in our city and obviously deranged men like this.”

    If it’s on private property without permission (or on public property for that matter without permission), then it’s vandalism not art, and should be treated as such.

    I’m not sure I see a lot of difference here: Neither one is welcome to most home and building owners and neither one seems abke to comprehend that what they are doing is unwelcome to most folk.

  • cali August 9, 2010 (3:27 pm)

    Good to see people can still blatantly disregard the law whenever they so feel like it. This goes for all forms of graffiti.

  • Hotel Admiral August 9, 2010 (3:42 pm)

    I’m with Gabe on this one. There is a HUGE difference between internationally known artists who happen to display public works of art, otherwise known to some as criminals- and those who choose to deface and mark up properties with a marker or a can of spray paint for no other reason than just to do it.

    Some of these criminals/artists have illegally painted/wheat-pasted buildings that even the building owners did not want removed or covered up due to the increase in property value that said “artwork”/vandalism brought in. ie. Banksy in LA. Did he have permission? Nope. Was it viewed as vandalism? Sure, by some but in the end it didn’t matter.

    Many buildings on the east coast and in the south will never be flipped, renovated, or put to good use. They’ve been left to rot, decay, house junkies, dead birds, whatever you can imagine. If someone should chose to use that building as their way of expressing their artistic skills, and it’s interesting/pretty/insightful to look at, why are people complaining?

    That’s no different than someone seeing a vacant lot filled with garbage and overgrown weeds and deciding to turn it into a beautiful garden with or without permission of the owner.
    People won’t complain then because it didn’t involve spray paint or obscure visuals that they don’t understand or take the time to think about. They’ll just write it off as vandalism and go about their day.

    A generational gap perhaps, it is what it is.

    An artist would never scribble anti-gay nonsense on the side of the building. That’s not the point.

  • Gabe August 9, 2010 (3:44 pm)

    Graffiti is an important part of the fabric of any metropolitan center. If you can’t handle it, move to the Eastside. Seattle does not have a graffiti “problem” as some would say. Most people don’t believe that we have a problem. 39% says the City’s Graffiti Audit +21% more saying it’s only a small problem. Do you think that the city should spend $2 million plus on graffiti cleanup every year. Mind you, that’s cleanup of graffiti on public property not private. Most of that money is going to cleaning up graffiti along railroad tracks, under freeways and in other areas that the general public will never see.

  • Carson August 9, 2010 (3:48 pm)

    Graffiti is NOT an important part of the fabric of ANY metropolitan center. Its a criminal activity. Take your crap someplace else Gabe, no one here is buying what you are selling.

  • moxilot August 9, 2010 (4:09 pm)

    “Art” is a very arbitrary word. “Lawful”, on the other hand, is not. While graffiti artists can dedicate a fair amount of time and effort into creating ephemeral works, it seems like most of these conversations stem around people being annoyed with the illegal activity, cost of restoration, and lack of appreciation for the graffiti.

    Truthfully, I find very few instances where graffiti art is creative and thought provoking. 98% of the time it’s crappy scrawling, awful ‘tagging’ of simple signatures, or markings for gang territory. I have never looked at the back of a stop sign and found the stickers to be artful, nor have I seen beautiful works of wheatpasting. I wish there were more thoughtful compositions… maybe I just don’t frequent the right places….

  • Baba August 9, 2010 (4:12 pm)

    Gabe, I find a rolled over vehicle a work of art, can I put it in front your house?

  • MargL August 9, 2010 (4:13 pm)

    Do the burglars doing the smash and grabs right now say, “Hey, I just needed some money so I can express myself, and what’s the damage? It’s just a window?”
    Does the arsonist that just torched a garage or abandoned house say, “Hey, I was just expressing myself with fire?”
    It might be considered ‘art’ or ‘expressionism’ by some, it might be pretty in some ways, but it’s still property damage and it’s still illegal!

  • Born To Be Mild August 9, 2010 (4:47 pm)

    Gabe, can I sedate you and take you to MY favorite tattoo artist so that MY art is permanently displayed on YOU, so you can enjoy it forever?

  • Baba August 9, 2010 (4:54 pm)

    @ Born To Be Mild, why are you being so kind?

  • mightymo August 9, 2010 (5:12 pm)

    I’m buying what he’s selling. Seattle has tons of great street art and plenty of crappy tags. I wish West Seattle had a little more of the former. (But I do love to see NKO’s crown symbol by Next to Nature year after year.)

    But I understand that everyone has a different place where they put the line between art and vandalism, so it’s perfectly valid to feel like 98% or even 100% of street art is worthless — from your own perspective. I personally think maybe a quarter of it is worth considering as art, and the vast majority of the worthwhile stuff I see is on public or abandoned property or it’s on private property with the permission of the property owner.

  • Gabe August 9, 2010 (5:15 pm)

    Once I again, I do NOT condone graffiti on private property. To the people saying that our city does not have any thought provoking or beautiful street art, check the ones out below. To moxilot who referenced gang graffiti, while some cities like Yakima face huge gang tagging issues, our city does not. In a recent audit the city found 556 instances of graffiti in an area, only 5 of which were gang related.




  • Han Solo August 9, 2010 (5:27 pm)

    +1 Gabe.
    Who do the “graffitti” laws and norms protect?
    Hate: thumbs down.
    Beauty: thumbs up.
    Blindly following the law is dumb.

  • Born To Be Mild August 9, 2010 (5:31 pm)

    Okay Gabe, I have both a private and a public wall in my neighborhood. You need to understand that I paint over the “ART” on both. I’m expressing myself. And though I haven’t checked with anyone, I know my work is appreciated. I know it’s great, I see it every day.

  • Carson August 9, 2010 (5:40 pm)


    a question about your web site with what looks like criminal vandalism. If its not vandalism why do you not post the so-called “artists” real names? I can guess…

    1. They know they are criminals and don’t want anyone to know their real names
    2. You know they are criminals so you don’t post their real names.
    3. If you know their real names and actually posted them you would get a nice beat down.

    So, which one is it?

  • Rick in the Park August 9, 2010 (5:42 pm)

    I’ve been dealing with this individual for quite some time now, as he has been living in the tall grass of Solstice Park, as well as The compost area in Lincoln Park.
    The graffiti he leaves on park benches, tables, and rest room walls is obscene, violent , threatening to everyone, and in no way “Art”.
    Just read the picnic table in Solstice Park. He hates everybody, and has become increasingly confrontational and menacing. Usually carries a knife or claw hammer.
    Unfortunately, he thinks he has the system figured out, and welcomes yet another trip to the Mental Hospital and it’s revolving door.
    His graffiti is everywhere and he needs to be put away somewhere safe, for all our sakes.

  • Tim August 9, 2010 (5:44 pm)

    Thank @Born to be…

    I appreciate you efforts at painting over unsanctioned art in public spaces. It saves my tax dollars. Even if all of the work done is artful on public walls, the point is it is not sanctioned. Hundreds of years have probably made everyone agree that the Mona Lisa is art, even if not everyone likes it. My point is that if it is public, sanctioned art, then when we don’t like it, we can – through our reps have it changed. Otherwise, we all have to go anarchic and blot out each others art when we don’t like it.

  • charlabob August 9, 2010 (5:47 pm)

    I’m with Gabe — I still miss the gorgeous cat that was obliterated a couple of years ago.

    Maybe it is a generational thing — I’m finding more and more in common with people in their 20’s and less in common with people 30-55 :-) Maybe we’re the hopscotch generation — imagine how powerful a combination of kids and geezers could be. Keezers of the world unite.

  • mightymo August 9, 2010 (5:47 pm)

    I suspect this thread will get lots of comments. Any blog post or forum topic I’ve ever read about graffiti in Seattle never really gets anywhere, because some people will no matter what never regard things like stickers, wheatpastes, stencils, drawings, and paintings as art. Often those same people want to “lock [the artists] up and throw away the key.”

    It’s a visceral reaction because it’s all seen as vandalism, and I get that and respect it. Street art on private property is especially hard to defend in Seattle because we have laws that require property owners to clean up graffiti. That’s a burden that property owners shouldn’t have the bear.

    But I will support the fraction of street artists whose work does not burden property owners, adds some color, whimsy, or vitality to a sterile urban scene, and inspires me. It doesn’t sound like this Ryan Cox is in any way worth defending as an artist.

  • Born To Be Mild August 9, 2010 (5:52 pm)

    @baba On the topic of sedation. Graffiti doesn’t appear where there is activity. A canvas left unguarded gets tagged. If I was able to use Gabe like a canvas, it would be involuntary, like those people who pass out at a party and have obsenities drawn on their faces with a sharpie. They pass out as a human being, and when they wake up, they’re ART! It’s SOOO cool. Everybody just loves it, so thoughtful.

  • mightymo August 9, 2010 (5:58 pm)

    That third photo is of a free wall, and artists were allowed to do their thing by the property owner. (Last I heard, that was the arrangement.) Does that still make them criminal?

  • Baba August 9, 2010 (6:08 pm)

    @mightymo, consensual sex is not criminal either. Rape -IS! So what is your point?

  • miws August 9, 2010 (6:18 pm)

    Gabe, I have lived in Seattle, specifically West Seattle, for all of my nearly 52 years, except for about a 4.5 year stint during my junior high years when I lived on the Kitsap Peninsula. Don’t you dare tell me to move to the eastside. Why don’t you take your “art” and move over to Kemperfreemanville and see how well it goes over, over there?


    I can remember back in the ’70’s & ’80’s when it seemed like the only grafitti that was around Seattle, would be the occasional anarchist’s “A” with a circle around it, on some of the metal light poles, and traffic light control boxes. There was very little, if any, writing, etching of windows and seats, or carving of the plastic parts of the seats on Metro buses. Nowadays vandalized buses are quite common.


    Back then. I would be watching TV shows and movies filmed in NYC, Philly, Chicago and such, where the grafitti could be seen everywhere; private builidings, public structures, buses, trains, etc. I was appalled to see such disrespect of property that very likely did not belong to the “artist(s)”.


    So, speaking of moving east, if NYC, or some of those other cities that a have long history of grafitti accept, or at least tolerate it, why don’t you and your buddies pack up your Krylon, and move there?


    BTW, very good comments by moxilot, and many others.



  • mightymo August 9, 2010 (6:24 pm)

    @Baba My point is that the art in the third photo isn’t criminal or illegal. If you object to it, it’s purely on aesthetic grounds and not because it’s “vandalism.”

    And nice job equating a scribble on a wall with rape.

  • Gabe August 9, 2010 (6:35 pm)

    Carson – Graffiti art and art in general has been done anonymously for tens of thousands of years. Graffiti has been found in caves, at the ruins of Pompeii and at thousands of other historical sights. I’m sorry that you’re too closed minded to consider anything outside of a gallery art, but I can and I do.

    mightymo – That 3rd picture is of a free wall, but the beautiful work has been done by graffiti artist who also do their work on public property. Just an example of what some artists can do with time.

    miws – You can’t have it both ways. You can’t enjoy the plethora of positive aspects a city provides (public transportation, hundreds of entertainment opportunities, parks, etc.) without excepting things like graffiti, theft and violence. Are you saying Seattle is at some higher level of civilization that New York, Chicago and Philadelphia?

  • Bensen August 9, 2010 (6:38 pm)

    Really? Come on guys. Please go to cragslist and rant about grafitti…….
    This is about Ryan Cox and his actions.

  • Baba August 9, 2010 (6:50 pm)

    As an artist you shouldn’t take the word RAPE so literally.

  • Escondido August 9, 2010 (6:55 pm)

    Society refuses to accept that we must spend money for mental illness when the person first becomes ill- usually between the ages of 15 and 22 years old. (Outcome is usually very good when this happens). When we don’t, we spend much, much, much more chasing our tails in these kinds of situations. The poor cops, social workers, medics/hospitals and jails/courts have their hands full daily because our government refuses to accept the reality of this segment of our population. We can’t just turn our backs to it and pretend it will go away or is somebody else’s problem or belittle the person with the illness.

  • Born To Be Mild August 9, 2010 (7:03 pm)

    Quote> without excepting things like graffiti, theft and violence.< I think you want me to accept Ryan Cox? No Effin Way. He shows up, he gets shown the door. Notice where he is today? You want to talk about art, the topic is crime. You might want to attend the Art Walk and see who the paying customers are. If you're any good, you might be able to buy property here.

  • Carson August 9, 2010 (7:15 pm)


    you are nothing but an enabler and criminal yourself for posting and promoting that crap.

    They used to have a joke on the NYC Subway Graffiti Patrol, borrowed from some lawyer.

    “what do you call a graffiti artist with his spray finger removed? a good start”

    I couldn’t have said it better, but I still like the idea of a public caning.

  • Gabe August 9, 2010 (7:24 pm)

    I’m glad you think that Carson. While I myself am not a graffiti artist, people like you fuel the people who do make beautiful art across our city, state and country. You are what is known as a “hater”, thank you for your service.


    • WSB August 10, 2010 (11:25 am)

      Again, the “graffiti pro/con” portion of this is CLOSED, with a couple comments deleted so far this morning.
      https://westseattleblog.com/forum is a great place to debate.

  • Derek August 9, 2010 (7:31 pm)

    How about we ignore the “art” part of the argument? Art is entirely subjective.

    While you may see something on a free wall from time to time, anything that’s posted without permission on private OR public property is a crime. That’s something that isn’t negotiable. While you may be able to argue the artistic merits, you certainly can’t argue the criminal aspect. It’s right there in the books. And this is coming from someone who spent some time in the graffiti scene back when he didn’t have as much sense as he does now.

    Back to the topic, it’d be great if Ryan Cox could be helped somehow. It doesn’t do anyone any good to send him through the process over and over again. It’d be much less expensive in the long run if he could just be provided the care that he needs.

    • WSB August 9, 2010 (7:44 pm)

      And as the site owner, I also hereby exercise my right to decree, end of the graffiti art vs. not-art discussion. If you have something to say about the subject of this news story – a somewhat complicated ongoing criminal case – you are welcome to comment. Anything else will be deleted from hereon out. We have a vibrant Forum for exactly that purpose and if anyone would care to open a topic there about Graffiti, Art or Not – please do! https://westseattleblog.com/forum

  • bridge to somewhere August 9, 2010 (9:32 pm)

    Mental illness is a b*tch, and our system does a poor job dealing with it. Is Mr Cox’s actions illegal? Certainly. But is he in control of his actions like a fully healthy person? Maybe not. And that’s the problem. The graffiti, though incredibly offensive, may not be the core issue here. The issue is a deeply unhealthy man and a system who knows how to punish but not how to treat.

  • raybro August 9, 2010 (9:45 pm)


    Society refuses to accept that we must spend money for mental illness when the person first becomes ill- usually between the ages of 15 and 22 years old. (Outcome is usually very good when this happens). When we don’t, we spend much, much, much more chasing our tails in these kinds of situations. The poor cops, social workers, medics/hospitals and jails/courts have their hands full daily because our government refuses to accept the reality of this segment of our population. We can’t just turn our backs to it and pretend it will go away or is somebody else’s problem or belittle the person with the illness.

    Comment by Escondido — August 9, 10 6:55 pm #

    Thank-you! For a much needed breath of Fresh Air.

  • RJB August 10, 2010 (5:58 am)

    To charlabob…….people 35-55 are not geezers, can’t wait until your 40….because you know people in their 20’s all have it figured out…!!!

  • amused August 10, 2010 (8:25 am)

    Gabe, where do you live, I would like to practice my ‘art’ on your private property.

  • DW August 10, 2010 (1:05 pm)

    It’s unfortunate this became a dialogue regarding the pros/cons of graffiti. This is about someone with mental health issues consistently vandalizing property with hate messages. The concern should be if this sick individual escalates things and harms someone in the future or cause more serious types of vandalism.

  • Joshua August 10, 2010 (1:18 pm)

    “Lock this guy up and misplace the key”
    “He shouldn’t be out on the streets anymore”
    Its scary how many of you would do exactly that. Lock em up and forget about’em? What about a society that pitys people with no control? How about a competent justice system that will find out what is happening to Cox and help. Sure, he’s a jerk for the graffiti and he’s probably guilty of other things, but we cannot keep turning to cells and institutions to hide away all our mentally ill. They are on your streets, in your families. Know this. They are not someone elses problem.

  • Cheezy Breezy August 10, 2010 (1:30 pm)

    Another interesting conversation stopped by WSB.

    • WSB August 10, 2010 (2:05 pm)

      Not stopped, invited to move. That’s what the forum is for – freestanding discussions that don’t need to be tied to news stories. Veering completely off-topic has long been against our rules. I actually should have stepped in sooner but it’s been busy. Thanks – TR

  • Cheezy Breezy August 10, 2010 (2:27 pm)

    I would love to take this conversation to the forums but have been repeatedly denied access. I have requested a username multiple times, and have heard nothing. So, I figured you didn’t care for my input as a citizen of West Seattle and gave up.

    • WSB August 10, 2010 (3:15 pm)

      There is no “user name request” – you register with a user name and valid e-mail address, and the system automatically sends you a password, which you then can change upon sign-in. This is an automated process; we do not review applications for accounts and never have (and there isn’t even an option for us to do that – we have to cull out spam accounts by hand, for example, AFTER registration). If you registered a certain user name and never got a password, it may have gone to your spam box., or if there is any chance that someone registered with the same e-mail address previously, you won’t get a password because the software doesn’t allow multiple user names with one e-mail address. (added) PS I checked for the e-mail address you are using on these comments and it’s not in the forum system, so that may not be the issue. Sorry that you are encountering trouble – it does happen on occasion – TR

  • RJ August 10, 2010 (11:19 pm)

    Ryan Cox was my close friend in high school and I haven’t heard or seen in a quite some time. It’s sad to have to hear about him by seeing his name on a link in the Seattle Times site. I knew he has some issues but didn’t think he end up like this. Hope he gets help.

Sorry, comment time is over.