Man pepper-sprayed after punching, biting police officers

Image: Google Maps
Image: Google Maps

A police call in Berkeley to a domestic dispute led to a man being pepper-sprayed and arrested after punching a police sergeant twice in the face and biting another officer in the arm, authorities said this week.

The woman involved in the dispute also struggled with police during the man’s arrest, and she too was taken into custody, police said.

Officers were called to the 1200 block of Ashby Avenue, near San Pablo Avenue, sometime before 10:25 p.m. Friday for a report of a domestic dispute, said Sgt. Andrew Frankel, spokesman for the Berkeley Police Department.

When they got there, officers determined the dispute had been verbal in nature, Frankel said. No crime had occurred. As officers mediated, the woman left the apartment.


But the man “was not satisfied with the officer’s response,” Frankel said, in a written statement. That “prompted him to call 911 over ten times to yell and vent his frustration. He was told by dispatch that he was improperly using the 911 emergency system, but continued calling.”

At about 10:25 p.m., police responded back to the home to talk with the man about his 911 calls, which were in violation of the law that governs how to use the emergency system.

“The male walked outside his apartment and was belligerent, angry, agitated and uncooperative,” Frankel said. When officers tried to arrest the man, Frankel said, he fought back.

“He punched the sergeant twice in the face causing visible injuries, bit one officer in the arm causing visible injuries and continued to resist. He attempted to lift officers off his back and was continuing to punch wildly,” according to Frankel.

Frankel said officers then used force and deployed pepper spray to get the man under control. Frankel said the pepper spray, however, was not effective.


During the arrest, the woman returned to the scene and joined in the struggle with police, trying to prevent the man’s arrest.

Both of them ultimately were arrested, and both received medical aid, Frankel said.

They were identified as 52-year-old Bruce Delmastro and 51-year-old Franchesca Villegas, both of Berkeley.

Delmastro remains in custody with a bail of $130,000 in connection with possession of a “short-barreled” rifle or shotgun, and resisting arrest. His next court date was not listed in online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office.

No further information was immediately available on the status of Villegas but, as of earlier this week, she was no longer in custody.


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