Police, BHS prepare for more ‘havoc’ downtown Friday

Police used cameras to record people crowded around Berkeley High School on Friday, May 9, after fights were reported. Photo: Siciliana Trevino

Police used cameras to record people crowded around Berkeley High School on Friday, May 9, after fights were reported. Photo: Siciliana Trevino

After several weeks of increasing youth activity, which erupted into violence in downtown Berkeley last week, police have reorganized their staffing and plan a highly visible presence downtown to keep the peace Friday.

Last Friday, hundreds of high school students from Berkeley and Oakland roved around downtown. Some of them got into fights and several youth were pepper sprayed by one juvenile during several hours of “chaos” and “mayhem” downtown.

Berkeley Police Lt. Dave Frankel said today that “The Police Department, in an effort to stem potential violence and havoc caused by high school-aged kids, has shifted resources around to ensure that there are plenty of officers on the street to deal with it. We’re not going to tolerate any unlawful behavior.”

Frankel said Berkeley Police are working with school officials “to try to curb what transpired last week.”

Berkeley High School Principal Pasquale Scuderi could not be reached for comment Friday.

After last week’s activities, two Berkeley High students were arrested and released to their parents, one for punching someone, the other for resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. A student from an Oakland charter school was also arrested for battery via pepper spray, Frankel said last week.

Last Friday, May 9, was the second time this month that large numbers of high schoolers disrupted business as usual downtown.

The prior week, Friday May 2, police responded shortly before 4 p.m. to Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way “for hundreds of BHS students milling around and throwing water balloons at each other, vehicles and passers-by. Officers responded. One subject threw a water balloon at an officer, striking her. When she detained the individual, the crowd surrounded her, necessitating a call for immediate back-up. Additional officers responded and monitored the crowd until it dispersed. One person was arrested.” The person arrested was a juvenile male.

Berkeleyside will update this post if the story develops Friday. We invite readers to share photographs, videos or observations by emailing tips@berkeleyside.com.

Update: Rowdy high schoolers disrupt Berkeley downtown (05.09.14)

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  • Guest

    What a waste of resources.

  • Doug F

    In what sense? If you don’t want the PD to waste precious man-hours blanketing downtown with officers, convince the high school kids to quit forming mobs, harassing innocent people and fighting each other. Good luck.

  • allison1050

    Living out of state I would have liked a little background as to exactly why are the students doing this included in this article and if the Berkeley students aren’t in class why haven’t they been suspended? Have things changed so much since I attended Berkeley High?

  • allison1050

    Why a waste as you call it?

  • Guest

    It is a waste that it has to be done at all. It is a waste that families in the Bay Area have such toxic home cultures that they produce children that think this kind of behavior is acceptable. It is a waste that the countless dollars thrown at this problem over decades have resulted in no improvement at all.

  • guest

    Teen flash mob fights & robberies are a growing trend.


    Berkeley schools are now filled with as much as 30% illegal transfers from other cities.


  • bgal4

    These mob fights have been going on at BHS since the 80s. Milvia St used to be the designated fight zone. The design of the A building intentionally created a barrier to stop the mobs from running en masse from the quad, yelling and screaming, with Billy Keys trailing them. During the mid 90s BHS parents created a safety committee resulting in a chainlink fence along Milvia side of the campus, it was only so efffective, because students and non-students cut holes in the chain link, such as the infamous A-hole which is now the official entry point for the A building. Adjacent the A-hole was the stairway on the east side of the community theatre building used for drug sales and use, alcohol consumption, sex, and gang crap games. All these illegal activities happened inside the campus perimeters undettered despite the district paying 15 safety officers. I will never forgot taking the interim Supt, interim principal and new to BHS VPs on a tour of this stairway. Post fires the partnership between BPD and the BHS was broken, the dept had no choice but to pull back resources since BUSD/BHS refused to correct for the conditions that enabled daily crisis at BHS. I re-established the safety committee in 2000. I have seen many of these mob incidents and have some fascinating stories about the city and admin incompetence. I could write a book, but why would I.

    My recommendation for corrective action presently:

    1.Send a Message – revoke enrollment in the fall of out-of-district students who participated even as bystanders.

    2. Make off-campus lunch an earned privilege. juniors/seniors in good standing, freshman and sophomores stay on-campus.

  • allison1050

    Thanks for the links when I was a student there I was protesting the Viet Nam War, my how times have changed.

  • ilovesouthberkeley

    Lt. Dave Frankel, your stated cooperation with BUSD is admirable. However, you must know that there are people working for BUSD who believe that students need to be protected from police involvement. While I think it’s admirable and necessary that many teachers and administrators always want to see the best in students, I wouldn’t want it any other way, I think this creates a large conflict of interest as to what they should do when they are presented with information no one wants to believe. In addition to your work with BUSD, I really believe that you would understand more if BPD youth services were to open up and advertise some easy to use, time sensitive, direct line of anonymous communication with students and parents, that would be useful in helping to keep kids safe. Thank you.

  • BerkeleyCommonSense

    If they aren’t from Berkeley, and they go to Berkeley High, kick them out.

  • Good call

    That actually would be an example of social justice. Antisocial behavior deserves no reward.

  • GuestHydra

    Bside how about promoting this to an opinionater piece?

  • guest

    Nothing can be done, bgal3, because vast majority of the kids involved are African American, which means that any systematic approach to the problem would disproportionately affect black kids. You suggest that we bring back shame? What group do you think will be subject to the most shame? What group do you think will be disproportionally excluded from off-campus lunch? How do you think those results would play in Berkeley?

  • guest

    Based on a thousand other trend pieces, from Satanistic murder to recovered memory, I’m going to call bullshit on this one.

  • suckatash

    The blame rests completely on the administration of BHS and secondarily with the School Board sitting on their hands. How can this be permitted without any threat of suspension? Sounds like the adults in the room, especially political ones, are terrified of addressing this.

  • bgal4


  • Bruce Freelove

    No soft bigotry of low expectations should be entertained.

  • 99

    Doug. I think you dont know the kids at berkeley high very well. Teenagers like to cause chaos and the students, of all backgrounds are raising hell often. as a side note… im sure it makes the news more often when two groups of black kids get in a fight… as we saw last week…. because that makes more people in this increasingly gentrified city more uneasy… but this stuff happens often. Or did in my day at least. (Alomni of 99).. and its not just as an open shut case due to upbringing… This is coming from a white kid who grew up in the hills in a fine enough home. Definitely not a toxic one. Teens act out and they’re also excited to see their power. this kind of thing is fun… im sure. I dont think your quick gavelstrokes calling their homes toxic is welcoming in the complexity of the problems. I share your frustrations though… for what its worth. Coming from a kid whose mobbed shattuck before its easy to see that wasnt a good thing to be a part of. Ill bet the great majority of our mobs will feel the same in a few years.

  • GuestHydra

    You can always identify BUSD students by their firm grip on writing mechanics. /sarcasm

  • guest

    im sure it makes the news more often when two groups of black kids get in a fight.

    I’m sure you have absolutely evidence of that.

  • North Berkeley Neighbor

    Who says white kids from the hills can’t be poorly brought up? Seems to happen often enough.

    Then there are those nice, well-off, well-intentioned parents who seem completely oblivious as to who their kids are hanging out with, and who they’re being influenced by. That may not amount to a toxic home culture, but it’s still an upbringing issue, and a pretty serious one at that.

  • Kidsthesedays

    THANK-YOU for the common sense!!!!

  • Boyswillbeboys

    It seems like there is a concerted effort in the downtown currently happening to close the campus, and that is probably why these incidents are getting lot of press right now.

    Kids fight.

    They should have strong consequences for that behavior, yes.

    But you are never going to create an environment where teenage boys _of any race_ don’t get in fights, unless you drug them.

    The kids who are being disruptive should lose their “open campus” privileges.

    However, I believe an open campus benefits everyone.

  • Robert Ryan

    There used to be gang fights, called “rumbles,” way back in the 1950’s. Only back then they didn’t use water balloons and pepper spray, they used switchblade knives and zip guns. In the 1960’s during the Civil Rights and Vietnam Era many students in the United States began waking up and fighting back against injustice. But ever since the 1970’s America has been regressing back to the retarded culture of the 1950’s. Young people today should be uniting and fighting back against economic injustice. Stupid behavior such as this only plays into the hands of America’s rich rulers who want oppressed people to fight each other and will end up giving the police even more power than they already have.

  • Mob Behavior

    Pretending this is “just a fight” ignores the havoc and disruption in downtown which is why BPD has to have officers on overtime trying to keep the peace.

  • allison1050

    Totally agree with your last sentence Robert.

  • guest

    Imagine if someone responded to the college rape crisis with as flippant a comment as “Boys will be boys.”

  • allison1050

    umm, how about reading the news & listening to the news, did you even look at the photo? Just wondering.

  • Honesty

    BPD has police officers on overtime because that is how they run their budget. There is no reason why they should be paid overtime in the middle of the day.

  • bgal4

    Shift ends at 4pm, if there is a bunch of drama and merchants are calling for police services some cops will be doing OT.

  • guest

    >There is no reason why they should be paid overtime in the middle of the day.

    They are being paid overtime because they are short staffed and more than one shift’s worth of officers has to be called in to deal with this.

  • guest

    Based on your lack of response to anything posted in those links and knee-jerk response, I’m going to call bullshit on your comment.

  • guest

    Can you prove that mob fights between black kids get more media coverage than mob fights between white kids?

  • guest

    Remember that some DO.

  • guest

    HuffPo? Please. You might as well get your “news” from the National Inquirer.

  • guest

    Beautiful example of an ad hominem attack, claiming that the information must be faulty because you don’t like the source.