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Keene man arraigned in chalking assault

KEENE — The Keene man charged with the June 3 Central Square chalking assault was arraigned in the 8th Circuit Court District Division Thursday.

James M. Phillips, 24, of Keene turned himself in on a warrant for second degree assault July 16 and was released on $1,000 personal recognizance. The charge alleges he recklessly caused serious bodily injury to the victim.He has a probable cause hearing scheduled Aug. 6 in the district court.

The victim Matthew “Yankee” Oldershaw, 30, of Keene suffered several fractures including to his ribs and scapula, according to the arrest affidavit on file in the district court.

Oldershaw is the president of the Free Party Union, an offshoot of the Occupy movement. The group holds “chalking events” in Central Square — creating chalk art on the pavement as a community building activity, according to Oldershaw.
On the evening of June 3, he said families, including several children, were creating chalk art in Central Square when he was approached by businesswoman Dorrie O’Meara. He was arguing with her over the chalk art when Oldershaw was punched and pushed by a man, he said.
According to the affidavit, O’Meara had approached the granite fountain at the center of Central Square just before the assault to get “a bucket of water to wash off sidewalk chalkings when she was accosted by Matthew “Yankee” Oldershaw. … O’Meara said that as she grabbed more water, someone shoved Oldershaw into the water fountain.”
Witnesses told police the suspect was associated with O’Meara, the affidavit said.

Police used video footage taken of the assault to identify Phillips as the assailant.

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