A potential People's Park crime disaster—a man lashing out with a chain in a crowd—was snapped by a good Samaritan park camper late Thursday.
The good Samaritan is a well-known Telegraph Avenue homeless man who doesn't like publicity and does not want—like some good Samaritans—a hero button. Still, if virtue were more than its own reward, he'd be rich.
According to sources in the park, the good Samaritan and a friend were near the peace grove in the park when someone in a nearby encampment just feet from Dwight Way started swinging a chain at an intruder. The incident occurred when a man intruded un-invited on a group clustered near a wooden bench.
The victim suffered lacerations, according to University police, but refused medical treatment for bloody wounds to his head after being lashed with a thick bicycle type chain.
The assailant was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Deadly injuries were prevented by the Samaritan, who snatched the chain out of the chain-wielder's hand and admonished him to "get the F out."
Although university police and an ambulance arrived after the incident, the police were able to arrest the suspect, describing him as a "white male, 40 years of age, 6’04” in height, 190 lbs, with red hair and brown eyes."
The victim was, "a 34-year old white male."
This is not the first time the good Samaritan has stepped in to break up fights. From his homeless post, close to Teley, this unofficial ambassador of the avenue has intervened repeatedly in violent avenue altercations—even at 4a—often sustaining injuries.
Raw feelings, disputes that turn ugly, bruised and lacerated flesh. All forgotten, if not forgiven. All part of contemporary People's Park culture.
Also an example of a fortunate intervention amidst the possibility that future someones will step forward to regulate disturbances in the park.
Such incidents occur all too often in the 2.8 acre park for the university to stem. The university, with the assistance of a park "co-coordinator" and periodic UCPD foot patrols administers the park in a town which prefers to downplay the whole ownership thing.
Now if only good park Samaritans could organize like other Berkeley factions.
Ted Friedman reports regularly from People's Park.