Despite tree climbing tactics, busy night results in fewer citations for Occupy Tucson

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Since October 15, the start of the Occupy Tucson movment, Tucson police have handed out citations to demonstrators.  In the last few days they've taken several people into custody.

Night after night, Tucson police would roam Armory and Veinte de Agosto Parks and hand out citations to occupy demonstrators who were in the park after hours.

"I have some where in the ballpark of like seven or eight. I'm not exactly positive anymore. It's kind of somewhere in the ballpark of seven or eight," said occupier Tylor McElhenie.

McElhenie has been with the group since the start more than a month ago.

He wanted to get arrested Monday night, but his plan was not to make it easy for TPD.

"Last night during the time that the police officers were here I decided to climb up into a tree and resist arrest," McElhenie said.

He climbed more than 20 feet up into a tree at the park and others joined.  To their surprise, none of the tree climbers were cited or arrested.

Jon McLane, one of the organizer of the group, says he received a call from a TPD lieutenant that there wouldn't be any arrests or citations.

"I was very shocked we've been here for 45 days and that was the first time that we haven't had citations enforced," McLane said.

Tucson police say with a fatal collision, a homicide and a report of a home invasion Monday night, enforcing park violations was a lower priority.

"With all of those things take immediate priority over enforcing park related violations so we made that decision last night," said Sgt. Matt Ronstadt with the Tucson Police Department.

Despite the tactics of occupiers climbing the trees, Tucson police say they will continue their enforcement as they have done since the start of the movement.