Author Archives: Emilie Raguso

Exclusive: Man died after Berkeley protests delayed help

A resident of this building died after a paramedics were delayed from responding to his medical crisis on the second night of Berkeley's recent protests. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A man who collapsed while waiting for Berkeley paramedics to arrive later died at the hospital, city employees have told Berkeleyside, after large protests that wracked the city earlier this month delayed first responders.

Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong has declined to comment on the incident, saying he is prohibited from doing so because of medical privacy laws.

“Anytime there is a delay it causes us concern,” he said, speaking generally. “Our objective is to get there rapidly so we can start treating the patient.”

Several city staffers — who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak with the media — confirmed that paramedics were delayed in their response to help the man who collapsed, and said he later died at the hospital.

See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.

There were near-daily protests in Berkeley from Saturday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 14, in connection with police-involved killings in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York. The most disruptive incidents took place Dec. 6 and Dec. 7.

The first night, police used tear gas and projectiles to disperse a Telegraph Avenue crowd that earlier in the night had attacked officers by hurling bottles, an ice pick and a sandbag, among other items, authorities said. The following night, officers kept their distance from the crowd which, though largely peaceful, included more than a dozen people who smashed the windows of Berkeley businesses and set debris fires as they marched through the city.

The second night, there was also a small group of people who police believe may have been responsible for attacking a man with a hammer downtown during the looting of Radio Shack, an armed robbery on Fulton and Ward streets, and shooting through the door of a Berkeley homeowner, in the 1800 block of Carleton Street, who confronted them about items they had stolen earlier in the night at Radio Shack. Those suspects — described as four young black men who at times wore white medical masks and rode BMX bicycles — remain at large. … Continue reading »

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Determined crowd demands fast action from Berkeley council; officials set meeting on protests for January

The crowd at Tuesday night's Berkeley council meeting listened closely to public testimony. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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An emotional crowd nearly shut down the Berkeley City Council multiple times Tuesday night during a public comment period that lasted the better part of four hours.

About 50 people spoke to council — and many more were in attendance — to share concerns about racial profiling as well as the actions of police on Saturday, Dec. 6, when officers used tear gas, projectiles and baton hits to control and clear a crowd that refused to disperse from Telegraph Avenue after several hours of demonstrations around the city.

Council members considered but rejected the possibility of scheduling a special meeting this month to discuss the events of Dec. 6, and how police should interact with protesters going forward.

See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates announced that council will hold a special meeting Jan. 17 that’s set to include a panel of experts as well as workshops for more interactive discussion of critical issues. … Continue reading »

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Crime

3 teens arrested after Grizzly Peak kidnapping

The view from Grizzly Peak Boulevard near Signpost 15. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Police have arrested three Concord teenagers in connection with the Thanksgiving Day kidnapping, carjacking and armed robbery of two people on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, authorities have announced.

Taken into custody Tuesday were 18-year-olds Jose Avila and Brenton Holtzclaw. A 17-year-old male from Concord linked to the case was already in custody for a different matter, and will be prosecuted as an adult, police said. His name was not released, however, because he is a minor.

Said University of California Police Department spokesman Lt. Eric Tejada in a prepared statement: “This investigation was successful thanks to assistance from several law enforcement agencies including the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and police departments of the City of Concord, City of Pleasant Hill and City of Oakland.” … Continue reading »

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Protests expected at Berkeley council meeting Tuesday

2020 Vision Symposium, Oct. 11, Longfellow Middle School, Berkeley, CA. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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With two protests planned outside tonight’s Berkeley City Council meeting at Longfellow Middle School, Berkeleyside will be on scene with two reporters and will live-tweet about the events that unfold.

The best place to find live updates is the Berkeleyside Twitter feed (no account needed to view) and #Berkeleyprotests on Twitter. Berkeley City Council tweets are generally tagged #berkmtg.

See Berkeleyside’s follow-up story about the meeting.

Berkeleyside may update this post as well — time allowing — depending on what transpires. We invite community members to weigh in below, in the comments section, about what they are seeing and experiencing.

Berkeleyside has previously published an advisory from police about how neighbors can prepare for large demonstrations related to the council meeting, as well as information about meeting agendas and protest plans.  … Continue reading »

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Police warn South Berkeley to prepare for protests

Tonight's Berkeley council meeting is set to take place at Longfellow Middle School. Image: Google maps
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The Berkeley Police Department has released a warning to South Berkeley neighbors to help them prepare for expected crowds attending the Berkeley City Council meeting at Longfellow Middle School on Tuesday night.

See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.

Officials canceled last week’s council meeting, citing a lack of space for the anticipated turnout, and rescheduled it for tonight, Dec. 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Longfellow auditorium at 1500 Derby St. near Sacramento Street. (There is a lift for ADA access at the northeast end of the building.) That will be followed by the regularly scheduled council meeting at 7 p.m.

Berkeleyside plans to live tweet the council meeting, as well as highlights from both protests that have been called tonight. Follow along on Twitter (no account needed). See the meeting agendas here. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 11/27-12/3

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is an overview of recent crime in Berkeley, exclusively compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, there were reports of 21 burglaries, 19 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles14 stolen vehicles and 11 disturbances, according to CrimeMapping.com. Five robberiessix assaults or batteries, one weapon-related call and two sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included three robberies and four burglaries. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

Please do not hesitate to share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know up front if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch.

Thursday, Nov. 27

There were five home burglaries: at 12:01 a.m. in the 2000 block of Shattuck Avenue; at 9 a.m. in the 900 block of Virginia Street; at 9:30 a.m. in the 1700 block of Rose Street; at 10:30 a.m. in the 1700 block of Spruce Street; and at 2 p.m. in the 1400 block of Berkeley Way.

There were two robberies, at 1:30 a.m. at Russell Street and San Pablo Avenue, and at 9:48 p.m. at Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way.

According to UCPD: Three men armed with handguns and a baseball bat kidnapped and robbed a man and a woman at a dirt turn-out along Grizzly Peak Boulevard at 2 a.m. Read more on Berkeleyside.

Four vehicles were stolen: at noon in the 800 block of Santa Barbara Road; at 1:30 p.m. in the 2900 block of Garber Street; at 8:45 p.m. in the 2900 block of Garber; and at 11 p.m. in the 2000 block of Ninth Street. … Continue reading »

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‘Double header’ Berkeley council meetings set for Tuesday, 2 protests also planned

Family members of Kayla Moore say they're still fighting for justice after her death in police custody last year. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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After canceling its regular session last week, the Berkeley City Council is set to hold two back-to-back meetings Tuesday night at Longfellow Middle School.

During those events, two separate groups have announced plans to protest in Berkeley. Separately, the Berkeley Unified School District has announced a panel discussion this week, for BUSD families only, regarding police-related fatalities. It remains to be seen how protest activities might affect the scheduled city meetings, but officials say they are preparing for a large turnout.

City officials canceled the Dec. 9 council meeting after protesters announced plans to take it over and shut it down. Officials said the regular meeting location, at Old City Hall, could not handle the expected capacity, and postponed the meeting to an undetermined date just hours before it was set to begin.

See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.

Some activists had announced plans earlier this month to “shut down” the Dec. 9 meeting to protest decisions made by the Berkeley Police Department to teargas and fire projectiles at demonstrators who refused to disperse from Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley on Dec. 6. (Berkeleyside has submitted a lengthy list of questions to police about this incident and has been told responses are forthcoming.)

Late last week, city staff said council’s Dec. 9 agenda will be heard Tuesday, Dec. 16, in the auditorium of Longfellow Middle School, at 1500 Derby St. at 5:30 p.m. A special worksession on the Adeline corridor originally scheduled for that time has been canceled. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man cases yoga studio, arrested after assault on officer

Image: Google Maps
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A suspicious man who went into a West Berkeley yoga studio on Sunday morning, asked about classes, then elbowed a police officer in the face who tried to detain him, has been arrested, authorities said Sunday afternoon.

Shortly before noon, the Berkeley Police Department’s Communications Center received a call from a yoga studio in the 800 block of University Avenue, around Sixth Street, said Lt. Dave Frankel, a watch commander for the Berkeley police.

The caller said a suspicious man was inside the business, CorePower Yoga at 811 University Ave. According to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, the man was walking in and out of the studio, asking about classes and about studio operations.

“The employee felt that the person was casing the business to commit a crime,” Frankel said via email.

The first responding officer arrived at the yoga studio within minutes. That officer found the man inside, and tried to detain him. But he “became combative and struck the officer in the face before running from the business.”

The officer told dispatchers over the scanner that the man “had a needle in his pocket and he struck me in the side of the head.” … Continue reading »

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Floods, outages keep Berkeley busy as storm hits

Flooding closed Ashby Avenue late Thursday afternoon. Authorities say it may be open by midnight. Photo: Jennifer Lazo
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Berkeley city workers handled more than 100 requests related to flooding, and more than 30 calls for tree-related issues, Thursday during a large storm that has been sweeping the Bay Area, authorities said.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city had received 127 calls about flooding as of nearly 3 p.m., and 34 calls about tree-related issues. All of those calls had been cleared by 5 p.m. Staff also gave out more than 5,000 sandbags to Berkeley residents, who were able to pick them up at locations around the city.

Malcolm X Elementary School also experienced significant flooding, and Chakko said the Berkeley Unified School District — which had shuttered all schools and offices Thursday due to the weather — was handling that issue.

See Berkeleyside’s live blog of the “Pineapple Express” storm’s local impacts.

There were several street closures, on Bolivar Drive and Bay Street, and around Ashby Avenue (which is also known as California 13). By late afternoon, Ashby around Interstate 80 had been closed in both directions due to flooding, authorities said. Ashby was expected to re-open by midnight Friday.

(Watch a playlist below of many storm-related videos shared with Berkeleyside by readers Thursday.) … Continue reading »

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Today: Students stage walkout at Berkeley High

Berkeley High students are walking out in solidarity with the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Photo: Aidan Grundy-Reiner
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Berkeley High School students are expected to stage a “peaceful walkout” today, Dec. 10, at 2:30 p.m.

A message about the event went out over the Berkeley High email list just after 1:30 p.m.

According to the note, from Principal Kristin Glenchur, the administration is aware of the demonstration and will not allow students who walk out of class to come back to campus, or to make up work they miss.

“Their plan is to leave class immediately after fifth period and walk out to Civic Center Plaza where they have organized speakers,” she wrote. “They intend to march after school up to the Cal Campus. Given the last several nights of protests, it is possible the gathering could include a large number of non-students.”

Another group plans to meet at the Cal campus at 4 p.m. to watch a live-stream of a Michael Brown-related tribunal in Ferguson, Missouri, and then plans to march.

Berkeleyside will be at the student march, and will post updates on Twitter. View them here. (A Twitter account is not needed to view the page.) Continue reading »

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Day Four: Berkeley protesters breach freeway again

Protesters against police brutality march down Center Street, toward the police station in Berkeley, on Tuesday, December 9, 2014. Tuesday was the fourth night in a row that demonstrators took to the streets in Berkeley to protest the recent decisions by grand juries in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City to not indict white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men. Photo: David Yee
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See all of Berkeleyside’s Berkeley protest coverage.  Refresh this page for updates to the live blog.

Update, Dec. 10, 4 p.m. The California Highway Patrol said it had to use force against demonstrators in Oakland late Tuesday night after a mostly peaceful protest for a short time took a violent turn. According to the CHP, “For most of the night, the demonstrators remained largely peaceful.”

But, shortly before 9:20 p.m., a large group of people breached a fence and went onto Highway 24 at 40th Street in Oakland, adjacent to the MacArthur BART station just east of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. In many places, officers guarded vehicular freeway access points throughout the night, but some protesters found another way to achieve their goal. The CHP said demonstrators forced drivers on the freeway “to take evasive action” to avoid hitting them.

“After approximately 23 minutes, CHP personnel were able to clear the freeway, however, some of the demonstrators turned violent, hurling rocks, projectiles, and incendiary devices at CHP personnel. Faced with the threat of physical harm, and in order to protect the motoring public stopped on the freeway, CHP personnel employed less than lethal force to subdue the crowd and effect the necessary arrests,” according to the CHP.  … Continue reading »

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After protests, Berkeley City Council meeting canceled; more demonstrations planned Tuesday night

Old City Hall. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting has been canceled due to capacity issues, the mayor’s office has announced, but protests are still expected to take place.

The announcement came Tuesday after three nights of lengthy demonstrations throughout town about the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and the role race and policing played in those fatal interactions.

Protesters had announced plans to take over Berkeley’s Old City Hall during Tuesday night’s council meeting as part of a continuing effort to … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley

Cal students, supporters hold ‘black lives matter’ rally

A photograph from Thursday's "black lives matter" rally at UC Berkeley. Photo: Genesis
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A large group of black UC Berkeley students and their supporters are holding a rally on campus now, Thursday afternoon, in response to the recent Ferguson, Missouri, grand jury verdict regarding the fatal shooting by a police officer of Michael Brown.

They have occupied the Golden Bear Cafe at UC Berkeley since noon, with plans to be there for 4½ hours — the length of time they say Brown’s body remained in the street after he was killed. (The cafe is closed during the rally.) A speaker at 2:10 p.m. said police are not interfering with the activities.

Some attendees wore sweatshirts promoting the message “black power.” Others held signs saying “We can’t breathe,” in reference to the death in July of Eric Garner in New York City during his detention by police. This week, a Staten Island grand jury said it would not indict the officer who put Garner in the chokehold that led to his death.

A live-streaming video of the rally — organized by the UC Berkeley Black Student Union — is posted online, though it has been experiencing some technical difficulties. Scroll down below the video to learn how to follow live tweets from the event. … Continue reading »

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