Blanket scuffle at Occupy SF leads to arrest

An Occupy SF camper squabbling over a blanket early Thursday allegedly tried to choke a fellow protester and whipped out a giant knife on another, police said.

James Montenez, 37, who has no local address, was booked for battery following the chilly 2:45 a.m. clash in Justin Herman Plaza.

A 25-year-old victim told a police sergeant near the camp that he tried to calm a heated spat between Montenez and another person. Another witness said the fight was over a blanket.

The victim who intervened said Montenez became enraged, pushing and shoving him and trying to grab at his throat, police San Francisco police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said.

The victim signed a citizen’s arrest against Montenez.

A second man, 23, who called himself the “unofficial peacekeeper” at Occupy SF, said Montenez whipped out a large knife when he tried to escort him from the camp.

Montenez “waved it in the air and threatened to stab the victim,” Andraychak said.

A third person reported finding a knife on the ground at the camp. It has a 7-inch fixed blade, Andraychak said. The peacekeeper declined to press charges.

While typically police would cite suspects in such a battery case, it appeared Montenez was a threat to public safety and so was booked into jail, Andraychak said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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