EDITOR’S NOTE: 12/3/11. Big John received a letter dated December 1st from the Police attorney, BethAnne Poliquin, advising him that he is able to return to OccupyMaine immediately because the charges against him have been dropped.
Big John was sitting on a Lincoln Park bench enjoying the unusual sun and warm temperatures for the end of November. MHN.com was seated next to him chatting about nothing in particular except the beautiful weather that was making us sleepy. At l:30 pm or so three police officers, one on a bike, came up and pointed a finger at Big John and said: “You. We have papers for you.” Stunned, camp chef Big John walked over to the three officers while mhn.com remained seated. A “credible” source has accused you of “obstructing a pathway,” the bicycle officer told Big John as mhn.com listened. Big John continued to be stunned and shocked. He wanted more information. Who said this and when? The police would not answer his questions. “You have to be out of Lincoln Park within THREE hours,” the homeless man was told. It didn’t take more than five minutes to tell him this. No opportunity was given this gentle man to face his accuser before being evicted – another statistic for tomorrows meeting at City Hill Chambers at 5 pm. to say why the police simply can’t continue to expend their limited resources at Lincoln Park.
Perhaps bowing to political pressure from some members of the city council who want to end the OM presence at Lincoln Park the police presence was strong today in Lincoln Park – leading some outside Lincoln Park to speculate that the police department was racheting up its presence at Lincoln Park hoping to make a stronger case for its recommendation against a permit to the Public Safety Committee tomorrow. It’s been well-publicized that councilor Cheryl Leeman has lobbied Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck to “transition” the activists out of Lincoln Park via an email. Sauschuck is also under consideration to be the city’s new police chief and needs all the city council support he can get. The politically charged meeting is at 5 pm at city council chambers at city hall on Thursday.
After waiting more than two hours for a promised interview with Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck, he stonewalled mhn.com saying he didn’t have all of the facts on Big John’s situation and/or referring mhn.com to Nicole Clegg, the city spokesperson. When asked if giving a honmeless man, three hours notice to vacate the Park, (without the opportunity to tell the three police officers his side of the story and find out who his accusor was), wasn’t excessive punishment, Sauschuck said emphatically – no. Then he said the interview was over, he had nothing more to say to me and held the interview room door open for mhn.com to leave.
Late this afternoon, close to 5 pm, Sauschuck decided that Big John could stay in the Park until 8 pm. Tomorrow, Thursday, before the Public Safety Committee, he would discuss the matter with city corporation counsel and see “how it could be resolved” according to Big John.
Suschuck should have the authority to allow Big John to stay overnight at Lincoln Park, but apparently not the courage or backbone. Or, is he afraid of expensive repercussions against the city so he needs Wood to draw up legal papers to provide that protection? Otherwise, why would Sauschuck need to meet with Wood – “before the Public Safety Committee meets?”
editor’s note: (1) The afternoon took a personal turn, when a police department Lt. said to mhn.com: “You are anti-police. Your colleagues say that about you. You try to insert yourself in places because you are a troublemaker. I know all about you.”
(2) Both councilors Cheryl Leeman and Ed Suslovic were specifically invited to comment on this Post. Leeman never responded to the invitation; Suslovic belatedly, but with no comment.