You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Jury acquits anti-bank graffiti artist

SAN DIEGO — The mayor called the case ‘‘stupid’’ and a jury swiftly said it should not stick, rejecting vandalism charges against a man who wrote anti-bank slogans on San Diego sidewalks.

A Superior Court jury deliberated for five hours after a four-day trial before acquitting Jeff Olson Monday of the 13 misdemeanor charges that could have brought 13 years in jail and $13,000 in fines.

Continue reading below

Olson, 40, was charged with scrawling messages like ‘‘Shame on B of A’’ in water-soluble chalk on sidewalks outside Bank of America branches in 2012. He included a drawing of an octopus reaching for dollar bills.

Olson turned to his attorney, nodded, and smiled as the verdicts were read.

The trial was the latest in a series of dust-ups between City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who prosecuted the case, and Mayor Bob Filner, who called it a ‘‘nonsense prosecution’’ that came in response to complaints from Bank of America.

‘‘It’s washable chalk; it’s political slogans,’’ Filner said last week. ‘‘I think it’s a stupid case. It’s costing us money.’’

Jail time is highly unusual for graffiti convictions, which typically result in fines or community service.

The city attorney’s office said it offered to reduce the charges if Olson agreed to perform community service by cleaning up graffiti, but he refused.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.