by Rachel Swan
In Berkeley, tree-sitters have had a lot of trouble measuring up to their tree-hugger counterparts. Now, a man who has occupied a tree in People's Park for the last three months has been charged with attempted murder, according to Berkeleyside. Fifty-four-year-old Matthew Dodt was arrested Friday afternoon after a six hour standoff with police. He allegedly tried to stab a man in the neck, after the man climbed up the tree for unclear reasons. Dodt said he'd brought the knife out in self-defense, though UC Police claim he'd actually invited the victim up for a conversation. Whatever the case, Dodt managed only to stab the man's hand. The man was treated at a local hospital and released. Dodt eventually agreed to come down from the tree after police brought a ladder and spent several hours negotiating with him. He was promptly arrested and taken to Alameda County Jail.
Since occupying the tree in November — apparently to protest changes in People's Park — Dodt, who goes by the handle "Midnight Matt," has exhibited increasingly violent behavior. Before the stabbing incident, he also pointed a laser at a police officer.