Man admits attack on Occupy camper, gets year in prison
Stupid drummer waking me up in the morning banging on your silly drum, why I oughta....
The victim, who was struck with the blunt side of a hatchet, opposes the sentence.
By Ann S. Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND — An Occupy Maine protester charged with hitting another protester in the head with a hatchet was ordered to serve a year in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to aggravated assault.
In a plea agreement, Christopher Schisler was sentenced to 8½ years in prison, with all but one year suspended, and three years of probation. A charge of criminal mischief was dismissed.
Schisler, 35, was on probation for domestic violence assault at the time of the incident in Portland's Lincoln Park. His probation was revoked.
On the morning of Nov. 18, a dispute broke out in the Occupy Maine encampment after one protester, Alan Porter, began banging a drum around 7 a.m. to wake up fellow protesters, and persisted after some complained. Schisler broke the drum with a hatchet, and Porter threw the drum at Schisler. Schisler then hit Porter with the blunt side of the hatchet.
Porter said in court Wednesday that he shared blame for the incident, and that if it were up to him, the charges against Schisler would have been dropped.
Porter said that he and Schisler, who handled security for the encampment, did not know each other before joining the Occupy movement. Porter described how they watched out for each other in Lincoln Park.
"He was getting his life together and he's a good man," Porter told Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren.
Schisler's attorney, J.P. DeGrinney, told the judge that his client wanted to apologize and shake hands.
The incident in Lincoln Park was not Schisler's first act of violence, said Deputy District Attorney Meg Elam. In addition to the domestic violence assault, Schisler was convicted outside of Maine for aggravated assault in 1996 and battery in 2004.
Protesters started occupying Lincoln Park in early October. City officials tolerated the camp at first, but later moved to close it because of concerns about public health and safety.
The encampment was dismantled last month after Warren ruled that the city ordinance closing the park at night does not violate First Amendment rights. The protesters had sued the city, saying their continuous and sustained presence in a public space was integral to their message.