Crime & Courts

Fight at campground repurposed for homeless ends in assault on officers, police say

Centennial Campground Rain

A fight over the weekend at an Anchorage campground repurposed to shelter the city’s unhoused population drew a large police response and resulted in multiple assaults on officers, police said.

Officers were called to Centennial Park at 7:50 p.m. Sunday, police spokeswoman Renee Oistad said in an email Monday morning. Police determined that 29-year-old Junior M. Bealy-Viven “was the aggressor in a physical altercation with another adult male,” Oistad said. Bealy-Viven was cut on his upper body during the fight.

He became combative when police contacted him, Oistad said, and punched one of the officers in the head as they tried to handcuff him.

“It took multiple officers, and two Taser deployments, to gain control of (Bealy-Viven) and restrain him,” Oistad said.

Medics requested that an officer ride in the ambulance with Bealy-Viven because of his behavior, she said. His restraints were removed at the hospital so he could be treated, but Oistad said he again became combative with police and hospital security.

At one point, Bealy-Viven broke free and tried to flee but was restrained before he could leave the building, Oistad said. He assaulted officers while they put him in restraints, which required the use of two Taser deployments, multiple officers as well as hospital security staff, she said.

After he was treated for injuries, Bealy-Viven was arrested on multiple charges including resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, escape and assault, Oistad said.

The campground has drawn frequent police presence since it was repurposed at the end of June. By Monday morning, there had been 83 calls for service at the campground, according to data provided by the police department.

[More coverage of Anchorage homelessness]

Homeless advocates called conditions at the camp “deplorable” last week, citing concerns about a staggering lack of resources and support for the people staying there. Four bears were killed after the campground was repurposed because they were drawn to the area by unsecured food and began routinely entering tents. On Thursday, a woman died at the campground after she was found nonresponsive.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

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