A new breed of crime-fighter now stalks the urban landscape: the anti-graffiti vigilante. These dedicated blight-warriors stop at nothing to rid their neighborhoods and cities of street art, stickers, tags, and posters.
Yet several of these vigilantes have become the very menace they set out to eliminate. In their relentless attempt to stamp out graffiti, they have turned to illegally and destructively painting other people’s property. Vigilante Vigilante is the story of two filmmakers who set out to expose these mysterious characters and discover a battle of expression that stretches from the streets to academia.
One of the “vigilantes” profiled in the documentary is Fred Radtke of New Orleans, commonly referred to as the “Gray Ghost.” In 2008, Radtke was arrested by a National Guardsman for painting out a colorful graffiti mural that had been sanctioned by the property owner. In a city known for colorful expression, he is often seen as the bad guy. World-renowned street artist Banksy came to New Orleans and battled with Radtke, creating stencils of him in action and mocking his efforts to eliminate creativity on the streets.