Violence in Central Square – Attacker Identified (UPDATED)

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Do you know this man?

Early last evening in Central Square, a troubling act of violence occurred when a local man, Matthew Oldershaw, known to many as ‘Yankee’, was shoved into the granite fountain and sustained head trauma. This occurred while Yankee was conversing near the fountain with business owner Dorrie O’Meara. An unknown man wearing a blue t-shirt and a Boston Red Sox baseball cap (now believed to be James Michael Phillips) was identified by witnesses in shaky footage from the scene as the aggressor. The man remained on the square several minutes after the attack, associating with another man wearing a bandana under a backwards cap who threatened those holding cameras and claimed ‘gang affiliations’ (since identified as Justin Paquette of Keene). Yankee was taken away on a stretcher and has since been moved to a hospital outside of Keene for additional treatment. Four KPD units responded, and left the scene without making any arrests. Images of the man have been published by Keene Peaceful Streets. Do you know who this man is, photographed smiling as he walks away after sending another person to the emergency room? What is additionally a sad reflection on society in Keene is the indifference displayed by some bystanders to a seriously injured person laying wounded in front of them. Some people can be seen casually pouring water on nearby chalkings at the same time that friends of the injured person are sobbing for someone to call an ambulance.

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Bandana-wearing man claimed ‘gang affiliations’ and grabbed at cameras of bystanders. The perpetrator of the assault (wearing the blue t-shirt) that sent Yankee to the hospital smirks behind him. UPDATE: Bandana man has since been identified as Justin Paquette of Keene.

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Smiling before leaving the Square, the attacker wandered off prior to the arrival of Keene police.

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Yankee is assisted by friends and bystanders as police and EMTs arrive.

Today’s unfortunate violence comes less than a day following a violent assault involving multiple people the night prior which fortunately left no one injured, but resulted in the theft of one person’s keys, camera, and cell phone. Video of that incident was shared last evening by Keene Peaceful Streets. More complete reports on these incidents are being assembled as footage sourced from various witnesses are uploaded.

UPDATE: Multiple sources are reporting that the man believed to have committed the violent assault last evening in Central Square is James Michael Phillips of Keene.

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146 Comments

  1. I think the lesson to be learned for Free Keene is: if you go looking for trouble, you will most likely find it.

    I don’t condone violence from either side, but the antagonistic nature of Free Keene tends to bring out the worst in people. It doesn’t matter if it’s “just chalk”: These Free Keene members are defacing public property, encouraging others to do the same, and making many people in the community very unhappy about it.

    Again: If this is yet another example of Free Keene trying to win over the people of Keene to their side, then I just don’t get it.

  2. I am not surprised that once again, Dorrie has put herself in the middle of what doesn’t concern her. 2 years ago she was complaining about people using the benches and gazebo for what it was meant for, complaining about drunk people sitting down on the benches, and complaining about how people “looked”. She lost that complaint, and now she’s gone and opened a bar, after being so vehement against drunks at night. She lost that fight….so now she’s put herself in the middle of this one.

  3. I read the article that you posted a link to – is the article incorrect?

  4. “The Monadnock Community Coalition recently adopted the Central Square common as part of the city’s Spirit of Place Program, according to Keene Parks and Recreation Director Andrew S. Bohannon. Through the program, private groups can choose parts of the city to improve without costing taxpayers money.” from the Keene Sentinel

    It’s quite amusing how a group of people (including you Kim) that antagonizes those it believes are not complying with government rules for corporations…does not follow government rules for corporations.

  5. Keene police responded to Central Square at about 6:43 p.m. Police said they are still investigating who was involved in the altercation and no one has been charged yet in connection with the assault.

    Which means nobody was charged with assault. I find it interesting that Dorrie can identify the man who “grabbed her arm” but yet has no idea what happened or who did the pushing. By her own words, “believes a man tried to move Oldershaw off her”, yet supposedly he had only grabbed her arm, how was he “on” her, and how does she know what happened when she says she did not see what happened?

  6. There’s no good footage of the attack that I’ve seen.

  7. Time for Restraint.

    My post after Today’s Sentinel article.

    “Time for a Time Out?

    With an injury and more aggressive conflict occurring in Central
    Square maybe its time for both groups to call a time out and not part
    take in activities in the Square for one week.

    This fracas makes the activities of previous groups of Juggalos, 420ers, Saturday morning peace protesters,
    and the yellow ribbon support troops people seem almost…. quaint in
    comparison.”

  8. There are no safe places anymore, usually the wealthiest of kids are the punkiest. No one has ever made them accountable for their actions… hope they catch this punk ass boy…. He wished he knew what gang affiliation was…. He is just a punk with a big mouth.
    T

  9. Do you guys always make it a point to stalk and video record your detractors? I’m specifically referring to the second video.

  10. “She deliberately causes confrontations either in person or on the sidelines.”

    Well, to be fair – many of the Free Keene folks do so as well.

  11. I agree. I am thankful that Dorrie is a unintelligent person and she will pay(AND I MEAN PAY) dearly for this. She will soon no who I am and she will not like me.No one likes you Dorrie and you know it! That is why you have your hired pay walking around with you.

  12. You do realize that what you wrote constitutes a threat, right?

  13. I mean out of wallet. So no not really

  14. So how will she “pay” for “this” (whatever that is) then?

  15. I am going to see her in court. I do not agree with someone trying to have my daughter be without her father is what I mean.

  16. I’m sorry, I don’t understand … is the person that was injured the father of your daughter?

  17. He is. I am done with these discussions. I am a human being with actual human emotion so I might not word things in a way understood at this time. I know it can be a hard thing for some to relate.

  18. The ramp up in violence lately should make any of “us” want to document everything as much as possible.

  19. I am an anarchist and what Robin Hood and Free Keene are doing is the completely wrong way to gather support for their cause or oppose the state. Opposition needs to come in the form of charities, good works, mutual aid and intentional community building. What they are doing is creating a well intrenched mainstream opposition to the ideas that they wish to promote. I feel this is being done for the sake of YouTube likes and for talking points on Free Talk live.

  20. Ok, I think I get that … but just video recording two people walking in a public space, one of which is a detractor of your group? That’s kind of creepy.

    Quite honestly: Free Keene kind of brings the violence thing upon themselves. I’m not condoning any of it, but when you go out of your way to antagonize and insult people who oppose your point of view bad things are bound to happen. To me, it looks like Free Keene is trying to instigate a confrontation.

    Free Keene has a right to express their opinions, but they need to do so in a more respectful way that doesn’t antagonizing the community at large. To wit: the “chalking” thing. All Free Keene is doing is really pissing people off, and they know they are pissing people off but don’t care. What purpose does all of it serve?

  21. I agree completely. I am sorry these people are representing the liberty movement in the manner they are.

  22. One lesson to take from this: situational awareness is key. Assume that anyone can attack you at anytime. Don’t assume that words will not turn into fists. Be aware of your situation at all times. Don’t allow people to get close enough to you to hurt you unless you have very good reason to trust them.

  23. It’s unfortunate, but not unexpected, that somebody finally got hurt. However, despite how Free Keene is playing this, this guy Yankee is NOT a victim. Victims don’t go about asking for trouble as he did. Victims are never partially responsible for the things that happen to them but Yankee went to that square in a confrontational state of mind, and when you begin poking a hornets nest, eventually you WILL be stung. This should serve as a lesson to the rest of Free Keene. A large part of the blame in the escalation rests on your shoulders. None of you are innocent “victims”.

  24. You tell rape victims it was their fault for “dressing slutty,” too, don’t you?

  25. Quite honestly: Free Keene kind of brings the violence thing upon themselves. I’m not condoning any of it, but when you go out of your way to antagonize and insult people who oppose your point of view bad things are bound to happen. To me, it looks like Free Keene is trying to instigate a confrontation.

    I couldn’t agree more with you, Dave. It reminds me of when some woman dresses all slutty and then brings raped upon herself. I’m not condoning the rape, of course, but when you go out of your way to stimulate and tempt people who are aroused by your appearance bad things are bound to happen. To me, it looks like that woman was trying to instigate the assault.

  26. Wow … really? That’s pretty lame. You will have to do much better than that.

  27. He’s working for the English Language Destruction League.

  28. Are you and MaineShark the same person, or are you two different people who happen to share one brain? The reason I ask is MaineShark just posted a similar message.

    Please, do continue. It is quite amusing.

  29. Oh wow, this guy doesn’t know what he got himself into. He thinks that Free Keene is a bunch of pacifist Christians who are just going to turn the other cheek, and not even press charges with the police. He doesn’t realize they are going to take matters into their own own hands. They are going to ID him, track him down, and then they are going to gang-ostracize him.

  30. Assault is assault why are you making a justification for it?

  31. No justification. Merely pointing out “cause and affect”. It is clear that Yankee was the initial instigator. If he kept his hands and mouth to himself he wouldn’t be in the hospital now. He wasn’t just an innocent bystander who was minding his business. He was looking for trouble and found it.

  32. I’ve heard the same argument about women getting raped. You will not win this. You are already on the wrong side.

  33. Win what? I’m not on either side. I am not a member of Free Keene OR Stop Free Keene. I couldn’t give a shit about chalk.
    Bad comparison to rape. Nobody sets out to get raped. Yankee was verbally assaulting people beforehand. He was actively baiting people to fight him and somebody took him up on it. That isn’t victim behavior by any stretch.

  34. Ok, look … if a woman dresses provocatively and gets attacked, that’s one thing … but if she shows up naked, sits in your lap, puts her tongue down your throat and a hand down your pants … well, you get the picture. She can’t really say it was rape after that.

    This guy put his hands on someone, and her friend reacted. Not so innocent after all, it would appear.

  35. Yawn, you are really not good at this. But keep trying to justify assault. I do this because I think it is the right thing to do. I think you get paid to justify assault..

  36. It’s not? Lately you could’ve fooled me. With Rich Paul riding in with the cavalry, weapon in hand, to intimidate and bully one man who was peacefully cleaning the common when they weren’t around, and then claiming that his part in the violent altercation was “self defense,” I don’t understand how you can support his actions, but not support someone who was trying to remove a man’s grip from a woman’s arm when it was not welcome. I have the attitude that when someone lays hands on you you have the right to subdue your attacker so that you can escape. If you cannot personally subdue your own attacker and someone else can, they can aid you. If your attacker gets injured in the process, the attacker was the one who made the decision to put themself in harms way to begin with.

    The cleaners show up when nobody else is there and Free Keene members lurk around downtown to call in a group which will outnumber the cleaners in order to intimidate them. Rather than wait for them to leave, they come seeking confrontation. Then when they find said confrontation they claim to be victims.

  37. What exactly could more people have done to assist him? Do you think he would have magically healed through the power of positive thinking? Maybe had they encircled him and done the carebear stare…. I’m sure they’ll try that next time.

  38. Again… NOT justifying anything. I’m just saying that if you can’t foresee getting beaten up as a potential side effect of being an asswipe then you’re a friggin moron. Right or wrong, that’s just reality dude.

  39. Don’t buy anything Jay says. They have been recording people who disagree with them just walking down the street, minding their own business, for a very long time. It’s an intimidation tactic. They’re always watching.

  40. You’re comparing apples to oranges and quite frankly it’s insulting to rape victims who are regularly told they were asking for it. People have the right to self defense if they are being threatened. Nobody has the right to rape anyone.

  41. It doesn’t help that SFK!!! actively rebukes anyone who suggests de-escalating the situation on their group. The admins keep saying their mantra of “we tried ignoring them, therefore we can’t ignore them anymore” instead, and it unfortunately likely contributed to this assault.

  42. I don’t think anyone deserves violence over chalking. I do, however, think that self defense is every individual’s right. The Free Keene crew went looking for fights two days in a row, the first time they brought a large group of people and at least one weapon. They enlisted a scapegoat, paid him to incite violence, and then want to simultaneously disassociate with him while making him a martyr for their cause.

  43. Not ignoring and assaulting are two drastically different things. Why is it Stop Free Keene’s responsibility to stop cleaning and not Free Keene’s responsibility to stop chalking? Especially considering it is people like Rich Paul who are provoking the violent altercations, bringing weapons, getting in people’s faces, and insulting them.

  44. I don’t believe a gun is appropriate force in response to someone putting their hands on me. I believe pushing someone away is. You cannot anticipate where or how they will land, all you can do is try to remove them from your person (or in this case, the person whom you’re defending).

    “I’m a constitutionalist” = “I think we should live by a set of rules that were put into place over 200 years ago when you could literally own people by people who literally owned people.”

    What a swell position. I mean, believe what you want to believe, but Rich Paul was swinging his night stick on Monday night when his group already outnumbered their opponents. People who don’t understand adequate force should not be carrying deadly weapons.

  45. So if you or somebody you know gets their neck broke its OK? Really? You might want to back up a few steps…… Please tell me how you justify breaking somebody’s neck.

  46. Please tell me how you justify shooting someone.

  47. FYI, that “weapon” is a camera monopod.

  48. I have personally asked both Ian and Dorrie to de esculate the situation on Jun 4, Tiananmen Square Day of all times. The leaders of both factions were out and being interviewed by WMUR.

    Again, let’s give it a rest. A week away from Central Square for both parties would benefit the larger community.

  49. Since you are clearly stupid, I will say it a third time: I am not justifying anything. Apparently you have absolutely no idea what remaining neutral looks like.

  50. I think there’s more than enough blame to go around on both sides. This all started because of the profanity written after the Phat Stuff bust and if SFK kept it to cleaning the profanity and leaving everything else alone then it wouldn’t have progressed to this point. But then, denying that the smilies weren’t chalked all over the place just to goad SFK on is just plain dishonest. Both sides need to act a bit more mature and fess up that they’ve both made mistakes and move on. The madness needs to stop.

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