Burlington man says he was attacked in City Hall Park

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 12:26 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A Burlington man says he was attacked in City Hall Park Tuesday.

Long-time Burlington resident Jason Osterhout says he was on his way to work Tuesday morning when he was assaulted. “I’m in the town, I call home -- I should be able to walk through City Hall Park and feel safe,” Osterhout said.

He says a woman he did not know punched him in the face. He believes she is part of the homeless community that congregates in the park. “I just asked her if her dog needed help with some food ‘cause it looked skinny and malnourished,” said Osterhout, who is also a dog owner. He says he was trying to do something nice. “I wasn’t attacking her or attacking how she is unable to take care of her dog. It was more of a suggestion, or even, ‘Hey, here is $10 bucks.”

After the woman allegedly attacked him, Osterhout says another man in the area got involved. “I was trying to de-escalate, talk the situation down --which I thought was going ok,” Osterhout said. He says the man threatened him and then punched him in the face. “I had quite a bit of blood running down my face.”

Osterhout says he never threatened them or took a swing at anybody.

The Burlington Police confirmed they are investigating the incident but have made no arrests. Police say they responded to at least 207 incidents in City Hall Park last year. This year, that number has grown to 329.

No matter the numbers, Osterhout says he doesn’t want to go back to the park and that something needs to change. “I personally would not take my kids down to City Hall Park,” he said.

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