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Downtown Activist Attacked in Palisades Park
By Jorge CasusoSeptember 21, 2023 -- John Alle -- a Downtown business activist known for his crusading efforts to fight crime and anti-social behavior -- was hospitalized after being attacked by a homeless man in Palisades Park Tuesday afternoon, according to police.
"The filming was offensive to one person. He didn't like that he was being filmed," she said. "He lashed out at John and hit him at least one time in the head.
"He knocked him to the ground,"Aklufi said. "John dropped his phone," which the suspect took.
Responding officers found the suspect near the scene, and he was identified by witnesses, Aklufi said. The man, who is not known to police, did not resist arrest.
Alle was taken to a local hosital and released shortly after midnight, she said.
"I'm surprised we didn't get videos of the incident from other people," Aklufi said. "People were probably stunned, and it happened so fast."
In a text to Councilmembers and supporters, Alle said he "was threatened and robbed" by a guy on meth, a drug charge police did not corroborate.
"I defended myself until a guy on the ground on the other side of me also charged me," he wrote. "I believe they were working as a pair.
"I asked bystanders in the Park to please call the Police. Nobody looked up. I was hit in my head repeatedly and fell unconscious to the ground."
Alle said his jaw was broken in two places and had to be reset. He also suffered a concussion.
The incident took place some two months after Councilmember Phil Brock was atttacked by a homeless man on the Promenade ("Councilmember Brock Attacked on the Promenade," July 17, 2023.
Brock's run-in with the man raised concerns over his involvement in the arrest and the message it could send ("Brock's Actions: A Welcome Sign of Citizen Involvement or a Potentially Dangerous Example?" July 18, 2023).
Alle -- who chronicled crimes and anti-social behavior often alone in the early morning -- had been warned by police that his actions put him at risk, Aklufi said.
Unlike police, she noted, civilians aren't trained for confrontations that can turn violent.
"We kept telling him," she said, "He's out there all the time. There's always a chance you're going to run across a guy who gets triggered."
Anyone with information about the incident should email Detective
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