Author Archives: Emilie Raguso

Video: Police ask for help after random violent assault of 85-year-old in downtown Berkeley

Police are looking for a woman who shoved an 85-year-old to the ground and rushed off. Image: BPD
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Update, Oct. 14: Read Berkeleyside’s exclusive story about the alleged assailant’s arrest.

Original story, Oct. 7: Authorities are looking for a woman they say turned suddenly, without provocation, and violently shoved an 85-year-old pedestrian to the ground as she walked in downtown Berkeley in September.

The assault caused serious injuries, and the victim required treatment at the hospital. Authorities have released a video (below) that shows what took place.

According to police, the 85-year-old Oakland woman was walking with a relative on Shattuck Avenue near Allston Way on Sept. 23 just after 9:30 p.m. when a woman who had passed them rushed back at them, forcefully pushed the Oakland woman to the ground, and immediately walked away. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police make frat house arrest in rape case

Delta Upsilon at UC Berkeley. Image: Google maps
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Update, Oct. 17: The case against Eugene Quillin has been dismissed, and he has been exonerated and found factually innocent.

Original story, Oct. 3: Police have arrested a 20-year-old UC Berkeley student in connection with a sexual assault reported last weekend.

Berkeley police arrested Eugene Quillin on Thursday at UC Berkeley’s Delta Upsilon fraternity house at 2425 Warring St. after serving a search warrant there, authorities said. As of Friday afternoon, Quillin had been released on bail, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.

Thursday, the University of California Police Department sent out an email notice to report two instances of sexual assault at fraternities Saturday. Both had been reported to the Berkeley Police Department.

Berkeley police also received a report of a third sexual assault Saturday that “may have occurred in a fraternity,” according to UCPD. No further information on those incidents has been released.  … Continue reading »

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Bites: Judoku, Daily Pint, Imm Thai, Mollie Rose, more

Bibimbap at Bowl'd, Emeryville. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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DRUNKEN FISH OUT, JUDOKU IN The team behind popular Korean restaurants Spoon and Bowl’d has a new enterprise coming to North Oakland. Chi Moon and Jessica Oh — who have two Bowl’d locations in the East Bay, in Albany and Oakland, as well as Spoon in Berkeley — are opening a new restaurant in Oakland called Judoku Sushi. [Note: Moon and Oh are using the company name of Jechi, and gave Berkeleyside the actual name of the new restaurant — Judoku — on Friday afternoon. Oh also said, via email, that Judoku means "addict" in Japanese.] The new venture is set to take the place of Drunken Fish on Piedmont at Broadway. Sushi spot Drunken Fish had quite a long run, but served its last meal Sept. 26, according to a reviewer on Yelp. No word yet on when Judoku will open or exactly what diners can expect to find, but stay tuned for details. The business does have an on-sale beer and wine license pending with the state — as well as a temporary permit already issued, which may bode well for a prompt opening. Judoku is set to be located at 3314 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland. 

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Crime

Berkeley Police recover loaded firearm, 9 ounces of pot during bust of 13-time felon

Image via Facebook
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A man with 13 felony convictions dating back to 1978, who was stopped by police recently while driving in Berkeley, has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with three new felonies related to firearm possession and drug sales.

A woman with him in the car has been charged with possession of marijuana for sale, and also with the fraudulent possession of the personal information of 10 people.

Calvin Phelps, also known as Eli Washington, and Maridena Wilson, 44, were stopped by Berkeley police Sept. 4 at San Pablo Avenue and 67th Street just before 10:20 p.m.

According to court papers, police smelled marijuana in the vehicle. During a search, they found nearly 15 grams of suspected marijuana, along with a digital scale and more than 100 sandwich bags, which can be used in drug sales.

Police obtained a search warrant for Phelps’ apartment, on Tyler Street in Berkeley, and recovered a loaded firearm, and 9 ounces of suspected marijuana packaged for sales, as well as 14 fake or fraudulent credit cards and 10 driver’s licenses with Wilson’s photograph on them. … Continue reading »

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Government

Streamlined housing crisis center slated for Berkeley

Homeless services in Berkeley. Image: City of Berkeley
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A new one-stop homelessness services shop is in the works in Berkeley.

Announced Tuesday night, the city is changing the way it funds programs offered in town, to prioritize the people with the highest needs, in line with a federal mandate to streamline services into a coordinated system.

The city is looking to create a central office where anyone seeking services will begin the process. Currently, there are too many entry points, as well as duplicative services and a mis-match between those who receive the highest level of assistance and those who needs it most, staff said Tuesday at a work session with the Berkeley City Council.

The city spends about $3 million a year on a range of programs. That is not set to change. But how the money is divvied up, and exactly which types of services receive money, will be different. Unlike the current system, programs will have to fit into set categories to qualify for city support. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Sept. 18-24

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 a partial list of recent crime in Berkeley, 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 Sept. 18-24, there were reports of 13 burglaries24 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles and nine stolen vehicles, according to CrimeMapping.comThree robberies19 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and one sexual assault were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included a weapons call, a sexual assault, a burglary and a vehicle theft. In addition, BART Police noted a robbery at the North Berkeley BART station. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; please let us know up front if you prefer to be anonymous.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Two vehicles were stolen, at 8:25 a.m. in the 2200 block of Jefferson Avenue, and at 6 p.m. in the 1400 block of 10th Street. A vehicle was also stolen from University Village in Albany at 7:17 a.m., according to the University of California Police Department.

A business was burglarized at 10:09 a.m. in the 2900 block of College Avenue.

Someone brandished a weapon at 12:30 p.m. at West Street and University Avenue. … Continue reading »

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With Berkeley set to change civic center zoning, US Postal Service ponders lawsuit

The Berkeley City Council is poised to set up new zoning standards in Civic Center. Image: City of Berkeley
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The U.S. Postal Service is pushing back against a city proposal to limit development at its downtown Berkeley post office property, which has been up for sale since 2012.

Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council is slated to approve that proposal, to establish more restrictive development standards in Berkeley’s civic center on nine parcels, including the post office property at Allston Way and Milvia Street.

An attorney for the post office, R. Clark Morrison, has sent five letters to the city since January in opposition to the plan, decrying it as spot zoning, and saying the city’s decision not to pursue a full environmental review in connection with the plan is at odds with its own code and the law. On Monday, Morrison declined to comment on the matter, but one city staffer familiar with the issue said the USPS is likely to sue the city if council approves the zoning changes.

Postal Service spokesman Augustine Ruiz Jr. said via email Monday that “The Postal Service is evaluating all options with respect to the actions taken by the City of Berkeley, including evaluating the possibility of litigation.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police arrest armed felon with robbery warrant

Image: Google maps
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Police arrested an armed man in South Berkeley earlier this month who was wanted in connection with one robbery, and on probation for another.

On Sept. 14, Berkeley Police Officer Derek Radey was on patrol near 67th and Mabel streets, not far from San Pablo Avenue, when he happened upon a green Ford without license plates that was parked in the middle of the road, according to court papers.

Radey spoke with the driver, who identified himself as 28-year-old Keith Davis Jr. of Berkeley.

Davis had an active felony warrant for robbery and another warrant for domestic violence. He also was on probation for robbery, which allowed police to search him.  … Continue reading »

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Government

The lowdown: Berkeley council on homelessness, ride-sharing, minimum wage, solar bins, more

A "family" of homeless youth in Berkeley. Photo: Keith Chastain
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The Berkeley City Council meets Tuesday this week, with a special session on how the city is working to streamline its approach to homeless services at 5:30 p.m., and the regular meeting at 7 p.m.

The special session

Coming up first, an in-depth look at homelessness in Berkeley, including an update about an effort to improve the way people access services the city offers. Earlier this year, the city hired a consultant to look closely at the city’s process for providing services. The consultant highlighted several areas for improvement, noting that the city is providing overlapping and duplicative services to people; that those with the highest needs are not “effectively targeted” for help; that money is not focused enough on helping people get housing; and that the delayed process for data-entry is also leading to inefficiencies. Read the report. … Continue reading »

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New beer garden, retail planned on Spenger’s block

An artist's rendering of "Fourth & Spenger" at 1901 Fourth St. Image: Abrams/Millikan
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Citing the need to revitalize a business that’s been on the decline for decades, a developer is seeking to make major changes to the West Berkeley block where Spenger’s Fish Grotto has operated since 1933.

Berkeley’s Abrams/Millikan, an architecture and design firm, has big plans for the Fourth Street property, which include the creation of a new beer garden, and the addition of retail shops, office space and parking. The existing restaurant use will remain, but on a smaller scale.

The city’s Design Review Committee took a look at those plans last week, but Abrams/Millkan — working with San Francisco-based Jamestown Properties — held a community meeting in June to provide an overview of the project. According to developers, about 20 people attended, and seven people signed a petition in support of the project, which is called “Fourth & Spenger.” The project was submitted to the city by Elliott Abrams later that month.

Read more about development in Berkeley.

In total, developers plan to add just 10,000 square feet of structure to the property. But some existing buildings on the block are set to be demolished and replaced with new uses, including about 3,500 feet for the beer garden and adjacent patio, nearly 18,000 square feet of new retail shops — on the corners of both Fourth and Fifth streets at Hearst Avenue — and 1,900 square feet for a new fish market next to the restaurant. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Teen charged in stabbing of 72-year-old woman

A 2011 photograph of Kamau Berlin. Source: Facebook
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An 18-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder in the stabbing in South Berkeley last week that left a 72-year-old woman with critical injuries.

Police say Kamau Jawhar Berlin, of Richmond, tried to steal the woman’s Honda on Friday, then stabbed her twice in the throat when the car wouldn’t start. The assault took place at 4:30 p.m. at Otis and Russell streets, not far from the Ashby BART station.

According to court papers, a witness said she was walking by the car and saw a woman on the ground and bleeding from the face. A man was trying to start the Honda, but was unsuccessful.

The woman asked the witness for help, and the man picked her up and put her into the back of the car. He told the witness he was “just trying to help her,” according to police. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Cousins take manslaughter plea in Berkeley shooting

A small memorial was set up in West Berkeley near the site of Zontee Jones' death earlier this year. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The case against two cousins charged with shooting to death a man in Berkeley last year resolved Wednesday with a manslaughter plea, the same week the case was set to begin trial.

Maurice Thomas Jr. and Jevon Calland, both 22, had been charged with killing 34-year-old Zontee Jones in Berkeley in February 2013 during a confrontation on Delaware Street not far from San Pablo Avenue.

The men pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing, and are scheduled to return to court for sentencing Jan. 5.

Thomas — whom authorities say fired the fatal shots — faces 21 years in prison. Calland faces 16 years. Conflicting evidence has, however, been presented in previous court hearings that casts some doubt on exactly what happened. … Continue reading »

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Always on call: Inside the Berkeley Police dispatch center

Berkeley Police dispatch center. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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For most people in crisis, the first point of contact for help is not the officer or the firefighter, but a voice on the phone line. A missing loved one, a car crash, a harrowing encounter with a violent stranger: dialing 911 happens as the situation unfolds, or in its immediate aftermath.

But who answers those calls? And who sends help? In Berkeley, at any given time, four to six people are charged with those responsibilities. Earlier this year — as the police department grappled to reorganize its dispatch center prompted by tensions with officers, complaints from the public and a lawsuit that aimed to highlight, and drive, needed changes in practice — Berkeleyside signed up to “sit along” on a Friday night dispatch shift for an inside look at how the office runs.

What challenges does the job bring, and what skills does it require? What do dispatchers wish the public knew? Is there a way to complain if a dispatcher falls short? Read on for an in-depth report on this crucial public service department, which handles critical situations throughout Berkeley on a daily basis. 

“You can’t be in a dispatch center if you can’t listen to 100 things at once”

In a dimly-lit room in the Berkeley Police Department, where screens outnumber bodies more than four to one, the ringing of the telephone can signal anything from a barking dog or loud party to a suicide attempt, a brutal killing or a hostage situation. … Continue reading »

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