Occupy Lawrence members report crimes at South Park camp

Members of the Occupy Lawrence group filed several police reports over the weekend and on Monday.

Jason Phoenix, a Lawrence resident and active member of the group, said that he was physically struck in the park some time after 2 a.m. Sunday. Police responded to the scene, records indicate, but the unidentified suspect had already fled.

Phoenix called the police department again Monday evening, saying he believed the suspect had returned to the park. The suspect was later identified in Douglas County Jail records as a 21-year-old Lawrence man. The suspect allegedly left the scene on a bicycle as police officers attempted to speak with him, leading to a charge of attempt to elude public officials.

Capt. Jim Martin said Monday night that no charges had been filed in the case.

Martin also confirmed that someone who had been at the Occupy Lawrence camp reported on Monday morning a possible sexual assault. He said he did not believe the victim or any possible suspects were members of the group but rather were transients who stayed in one of the group’s tents Sunday night.

Though he was not present at the camp Sunday night, Phoenix said he was told of the filing of the sexual assault report. He said that witnesses had told him that two men and one woman came into the camp seeking a place to sleep and were offered one of the open tents. He said that group members were “deeply affected” by the events and were considering new measures to ensure their safety within the park, including distribution of a flier titled “Creating a safe space,” which asks participants to “refrain from engaging in activities that are not conducive to creating and maintaining a safe space.”

The group took down their tents Monday and said they intend to remain in the park overnight but no longer felt that the tents were safe.

Both investigations are still open and Martin could not confirm any more details about the alleged battery or sexual assault.