Lakewood’s Tent City Drama Rolls On
The Leader of Lakewood's Tent City is facing some additional legal trouble, right as the encampment is in a legal mediation with the town and county.
Lakewood police reported at the beginning of the week, Steven Brigham (who refers to himself as Reverend Steve) was arrested on charges of vandalism and witness intimidation. Captain Paul Daly from the Lakewood Police Department explains patrolmen went into Tent City to investigate an unrelated matter regarding the theft of scrap metal. While there Daly says a resident approached police with information regarding investigation. That's when the incident with Brigham occurred.
"Apparently after they left Mr. Brigham approached this individual who supplied information and more or less berated her. Telling her that he didn't want police there and she shouldn't be bringing them there."
Daly says after that, the woman alleges Brigham began to cut up her tent, and restrict her from activities within the camp, and telling her that he doesn't want her there.
"Basically he was charged as a result of that, with the vandalism to her tent and witness intimidation for intimidating her against calling the police to report crime."
Noting that the department understands Mr. Brigham is helping the less fortunate in town, "you can't harbor or conceal criminal activity. If that's brought to our attention we're obligated to act on it."
Though Brigham has kept a very genial and positive relationship with police in the past, Daly claims he has heard of a change in the encampment leader's demeanor.
"Well I'm told by some of the people who have been dealing with him from the department that he's development kind of an ownership type attitude of this area, and he has this impression that can do pretty much whatever he wants to out there."
The arrests come just weeks after an event supporting the residents of Tent City was held in Lakewood, and right in the middle of a heated mediation process between the camp and city and county officials.
Daly says their decision to arrest Brigham has nothing to do with the current mediation process or the encampments increase in visibility.
"I wouldn't say that we're giving them any more attention than any other area of town, but when information comes to us we have to respond." Adding the camps has its own particular problems however, "we do pay attention to those things but were not trying to do anything that's overwhelming with those people out there."