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East Bay | Environment & Forest Defense

People's Park Treesitter Forced from Tree and in Santa Rita on Attempted Murder Charge
by dave id
Friday Jan 28th, 2011 9:46 AM
Details are unclear at this point after having received just a very brief report on the situation, but apparently some drunken instigators, perhaps working with the Berkeley and/or UC police departments to create a ruse for raiding the treesit, climbed into the tree last night and confronted Midnight Matt. Midnight Matt tried to defend himself and demanded that the instigators leave the tree. One of the instigators ended up with a small cut on his hand. The confrontation was then the justification BPD and UCPD used to call the Fire Department and extract Midnight Matt from the tree around 3am. Midnight Matt is now in Santa Rita jail facing attempted murder charges. None of the instigators were charged.
There is no call for support at the park now, but stay tuned for updates.

More information on the treesit can be found at the web page below:

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Mr X
Friday Jan 28th, 2011 10:46 AM
Last Sunday Sasquatch, Rainbow and Aquarius all stated emphatically there were going to stop the tree sit.

Sasquatch even informed the People's Park meeting that he is ex-military and is wants to work with the cops to gain their respect.

All three individuals repeatedly said during the meeting that they would find a way to remove Matt from the tree.

All three used to get in trouble with the cops often, but for the past month they never even so much as get ticketed for blatant open containers.
by .
Friday Jan 28th, 2011 12:38 PM
wow.
Do you know how difficult it is to get the UC police to even turn out to take a report for theft, fights and disruptions in the student neighborhoods, etc. I once turned in a purse that I found tossed in my front yard, and I think they wanted me to take it to the BPD. The city has a map of the number of cars stolen each year (something like 1700/yr in the city, or 1 in 60 cars?), and it is particularly high on the south side. The UCPD doesn't appear to be particularly active on solving this trend. So why do they suddenly have an overreaction to yet another fight?

The description of this makes it sound like it was defensive - he could have felt at risk of being pushed from the tree.
by Daily Cal report from last night
Friday Jan 28th, 2011 12:53 PM
By Stephanie Baer and Sarah Springfield
Daily Cal Senior Staff Writers

Date Added Thursday, January 27, 2011 | 11:01 pm
Last Updated Friday, January 28, 2011 | 1:19 am
Category: News > City > Crime


Correction Appended

At least 15 Berkeley police officers and other emergency units responded to People's Park Thursday night following what appeared to be an altercation involving a knife between a tree-sitter and four other homeless men.

One fire engine, one ambulance and at least seven police vehicles from both UCPD and the Berkeley Police Department were at the scene at about 9:30 p.m. Officers from the Berkeley police department had left by about 9:45 p.m., though seven UCPD officers remained at the park and were still monitoring the scene and maintaining the police line a half hour later.

According to Midnight Matt, who has been holding a tree sit in the park, just after 9 p.m. four men approached the tree where he has been posted for the past 89 days. He said they were making threats, claiming they would burn the tree down and "end this tree sit."

Matt said that when one of the men - who he said smelled of liquor - began to climb up the tree, Matt took out his knife and climbed down a few feet to a wooden platform that he has been using as part of the tree sit.

"He got his hand cut," Matt said.

There appeared to be a bloodstain about 8 inches in diameter on the Haste Street sidewalk near the basketball court in the park. At about 9:30 p.m. firefighters from the Berkeley Fire Department poured a clear liquid out of unmarked containers on the stain. The basketball court sits approximately 300 feet from Matt's tree.

"I don't think (the cut) was that bad," Matt said, adding that he had not left his tree following the incident. "I didn't see blood at all."

UCPD officers on the scene declined to comment.

Matt said the four men scattered after the altercation and added that he thought they lived in the west end of the park. Matt's tree is located in the east end.

At approximately 9:45 p.m., a few UCPD officers marked off the area surrounding the tree while other officers searched the area with flashlights and a black light.

Fifteen minutes later, two officers were on the park's basketball court talking with another man who appeared to have his hand bandaged. The man shouted that his hand was "cut to the bone."

The same two officers shooed away Zachary Runningwolf, a local homeless advocate who frequents the park and led a campaign to recall Mayor Tom Bates in 2006, when he approached the scene moments later. One of the officers told Runningwolf he could not talk to their "victim, witness or whatever he is."

Matt said he had called Runningwolf immediately after the incident.

The ambulance had left the scene without sirens by 10 p.m.

Although according to Matt no officers were at the park at the time of the altercation, he said police presence in the park has recently increased and that officers arrived at the scene within 10 minutes of the incident.

Tags: PEOPLE'S PARK, UCPD, BERKELEY FIRE DEPARTMENT, BERKELEY POLICE DEPARTMENT, MIDNIGHT MATT, ZACHARY RUNNINGWOLF


Correction: Friday, January 28, 2011
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the tree-sitter's name was Midnight Max. In fact, his name is Midnight Matt.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.
I walked into the Park today after hearing from word of mouth about the extraction of Matt who is now facing Attmpt. Murd. charges. When I walked up to the ball room it was open with Sasquatch sitting inside at the computer, talking to one of the UC workers in the ball room. I could not see what Sasquatch was looking at on the computer, but he was talking about Aquarius and Rainbow with the worker who was taking notes, saying that they were trouble makers, and that Aquarius was a 'rebel rouser' and an 'anarchist' who had once started a fire in a dumpster or trash can. I was a little shocked about what was being talked about in the open in the ball room, and the day after the extraction. The worker then said that they need to have this conversation in private and told people standing around to leave. He then turned to me and asked what do I want. I replied that I wanted to check out a ball. The worker refused and said that he was going to close the room in 2min and I could not check out a basket ball in till 2:00PM, when ball room re-opened( he actually did not close up in two min). I said fine and walked away. There was another woman( who I don't know) in the ball room with Sasquatch and the worker who seemed involved in the conversation at hand.
by Konsider
Friday Jan 28th, 2011 11:14 PM
The man who goes by the moniker of Sasquatch, in the course of a rant denouncing Matt and the treesit, disclosed today, that he and his friends were on acid at the time of the incident that ensued last night at People's park. Sasquatch also stated, to a small group of activists, and others standing near the Food Not Bombs serving bench, that he had called the police on Matt, and that "your hippie shit has to end!"

Sasquatch, and his friends Aquarius and Rainbow hang out at the park frequently, along with other alcoholics and tweekers who, when not doing anything, tear up plants in the garden, start fights and kick the shit out of their animals. Interestingly, Aquarius, at a recent People's park planning meeting, talked about "the need to work with the police in cleaning up the park" while he actually, directly advocated gentrification. According to Aquarius, Sasquatch and many others, activists are responsible for there being any problems in the park, and so need to either change or be purged.
by William Rainbow Terney
( williamterney [at] yahoo.com ) Thursday Dec 27th, 2012 10:54 PM
I'm Rainbow and I really knew nothing of the tree sit until this incident took place,because I had a stay away order. Your story is all fucked up because I don't drink but I did like to lay stuff out on blankets to give away for free.