An Anchorage man protesting the city's treatment of its homeless population by sleeping on downtown sidewalks was arrested Monday for trespassing at a coffee shop.John Martin III, 39, says he first camped in front of City Hall to draw attention to Mayor Dan Sullivan's policies toward local homeless people, which Martin described as heavy-handed. More recently, Martin and others have taken up residence a half-block away at the corner of Sixth Avenue and G Street, across from the Kaladi Brothers downtown coffee shop.
Monday afternoon, Martin went into the shop with an empty coffee cup to get a free refill of drip coffee, according to both Martin and police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker.
Martin says he was talking to two female employees when a man approached him. The man told Martin he had to leave and started pushing him toward a door, Martin said.
"I just sort of stood in my stance, until he pushed me harder," Martin said.
Both men tumbled to the ground, he said. Martin had scrapes on his knuckles and a bruise on his shoulder that he said were from the fall.
Police officers arrived and arrested Martin for trespassing. He was taken to jail, paid $100 for bail, and was out about two hours later, Martin said.
Martin is a registered sex offender whose protests frequently land him in Anchorage news stories. In October of 2009 he slept under a blue tarp at the corner of Lake Otis Parkway and Abbott Road. He said at the time that he was fasting and praying in an effort to bring attention to people camping in city parks.
In May, police asked the public for help locating Martin, who police said was missing. He had told a friend he planned to walk barefoot from Anchorage to Iliamna, police said at the time.
By summer, Martin was back in Anchorage making headlines again.