Lawrence community organizer and activist charged with aggravated battery, fails to appear in court
photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office
Updated at 4:27 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023
A Lawrence community organizer and one-time prominent student activist at the University of Kansas is facing a charge of aggravated battery.
The woman, Trinity Carpenter, 36, is charged in Douglas County District Court with one felony count of aggravated battery, according to charging documents, though few details about the incident were immediately available. The charge is in connection with an incident on June 5, 2022. The Journal-World learned Tuesday afternoon from a records clerk at the court that the case file has now been sealed.
A spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office confirmed Tuesday that the case “exists as it was with no changes to the initial charge,” but did not comment on the case being sealed.
The charge was filed on Dec. 5, 2022, and the court issued a summons for Carpenter on Dec. 27 for her to appear on Jan. 18, according to court records. The court attempted to serve Carpenter the summons three times at her last known address by mail but was unable to locate her, according to the summons. After Carpenter failed to appear at the hearing, a warrant was issued for her arrest with a $15,000 cash or surety bond.
Carpenter reached out to the Journal-World Tuesday afternoon and disputed that the June 5, 2022, incident, which involved a family member, was violent or criminal. She said she was now living out of state and had been unaware of the summons.
Carpenter was an organizer for the 2021 Juneteenth Celebration at Watson Park, as reported by the Journal-World. In the past, she was an active member of Lawrence’s Black Lives Matter group, which held a sit-in at a Lawrence City Commission meeting in 2016, demanding from the commission letters of solidarity with BLM and with the American Indians protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Later that year, Carpenter was also a part of the group that disrupted and took over a Lawrence school board meeting in December, causing the board to adjourn prematurely.
As the Journal-World previously reported, Carpenter was arrested in 2017 on warrants stemming from accusations of misdemeanor traffic violations and a misdemeanor theft conviction, according to the Lawrence Municipal Court clerk.
Carpenter was convicted of felony conspiracy to commit robbery in 2008 and was sentenced by Judge Michael Malone to 24 months in prison, which he then suspended to 24 months of probation in accordance with Kansas sentencing guidelines, according to court records. She was originally charged with aggravated robbery but pleaded no contest to the lesser conspiracy charge as part of a plea agreement.
In 2006, Carpenter was convicted of offenses including DUI, misdemeanor criminal damage and misdemeanor obstruction of the law enforcement process, according to Douglas County District Court records.