Disturbing interaction with man linked to tot lot incidents alarms Berkeley mom

Update, Sept. 25, 5:30 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department has confirmed that William Turner was detained Thursday and taken to John George Psychiatric Hospital, in San Leandro, for an evaluation. Upon his release from the hospital, he is set to be arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure and a probation violation. Police said they have spoken with the woman interviewed by Berkeleyside.

Original story, Sept. 23, 7:49 p.m. Three days after police put out a community alert about a probationer with a history of bizarre interactions with children, a local mother spotted the man shirtless not far from her South Berkeley home. He proceeded to make inappropriate sexual comments to her and also exposed himself, she told Berkeleyside on Saturday.

The woman, Latasha Brooks, captured a brief video of the man — identified previously by police as William Turner — and described the exchange to neighbors on private social network Nextdoor. The incident happened Thursday in the 1600 block of Alcatraz Avenue.

Brooks said the man made rude statements to her and also pulled down his pants, exposing his penis and buttocks.


“He pulled his pants down right in front of me,” she said. “It’s not right. There are kids on my block.”

Brooks said she had come back, after running briefly to the corner store, to find the man near her house wearing only his pants. He was carrying his shoes, and was shirtless. The man was mumbling and making strange comments, she said.

“The stuff he was saying, I thought it was a joke,” Brooks said. “Then a lady rolled by and said, ‘Call the police, he’s on the news.'”

Brooks had not seen earlier news stories about Turner, but the statements he made to her raised serious red flags. She tried to take a photograph of the man with her cellphone, but mistakenly made a brief video.

Brooks said she yelled at him and told him he shouldn’t talk like that to people. “I shouldn’t, should I?” he answered calmly.


After she put down her phone, the man pulled down his pants, and repeatedly told her he was going to take her into the backyard to have sex with her.

He also told her he planned to masturbate later while thinking about her, she said.

She told the man his statements constituted sexual harassment.

Brooks said she was especially concerned because her 10-year-old daughter had been on the front porch alone before Brooks got home from the store. She later asked her daughter if she had noticed anything strange, and the child told her she had not.

Brooks called the man’s behavior “real weird,” and also disrespectful.


She said she shared her story with neighbors on Nextdoor so they knew about the potential safety risk and could be on the lookout.

Brooks, who has lived in Berkeley for nearly a decade, said she didn’t stay in the area because she was so uncomfortable with what had just happened. She said she didn’t even feel like she could go inside her home after the things the man had said and done.

“I get off work late,” she said. “I didn’t want him to know where I live and come back to bother me.”

An AT&T worker nearby, however, called police to make a report, she said.