From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
Homeless City Hall protester John W. Martin has been arrested yet again, this time for violating conditions of his release on a previous trespassing charge, police say.
The problem? Judges have twice told Martin, 39, he's not allowed to camp on city land, prosecutors said.
Martin was arrested 3:51 this morning after officers found him sleeping in a sleeping bag beneath a tarp at 6th Avenue and G Street, said police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker.
It’s against city ordinances to camp anywhere on city property except at designated camp sites or with a special permit. (Do it yourself and you can get a ticket for it, but you won’t go to jail like Martin did today. It’s under the same set of rules that prohibit people from breaking bottles or building fires on city land.)
Judges twice told Martin in early July that he was not to camp in the city as a condition of his release on an earlier Campbell Creek trespassing charge, said city prosecutor Cynthia Franklin.
That led to today's misdemeanor charge.
“He promised the judge he would not camp and he broke his promise,” Franklin said.
Martin has argued that because he does not use a tent, he is not camping, the prosecutor said.
Martin has become a regular fixture outside City Hall. He made headlines protesting Mayor Dan Sullivan’s policies on homelessness. Police arrested him in July and August on charges of failure to register as a sex offender and trespassing at a nearby coffee shop.
As for why police didn’t arrest Martin for camping downtown before today, Franklin said that Martin had been leaving his downtown post at night and sleeping somewhere else.
“Apparently at some point in time he decided to stop doing that,” Franklin said.
The dog that is often seen at Martin’s side during his protests was given to a friend during his latest arrest, Parker said.
Martin remained in custody at the Anchorage jail as of 5:30 p.m. today.