Author Archives: Emilie Raguso

Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Feb. 12-18

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know 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. We very much want to know about issues of neighborhood concern.

From Feb. 12-18, there were reports of four robberies26 burglaries18 assaults or batteries, two weapon-involved calls and three sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 11 stolen vehicles19 disturbances and 28 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included five reports of vandalism. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

Thursday, Feb. 12

There were two home burglaries, at 1:30 a.m. in the 2700 block of Durant Avenue, and at 7:25 a.m. in the 800 block of Cedar Street.

There was a commercial burglary at 5 a.m. in the 2500 block of San Pablo Avenue.

A vehicle was stolen at 5 a.m. in the 3000 block of Mabel Street.

There was a robbery at 10:45 a.m. in the 1000 block of University Avenue.

According to the BART police, a thief stole a $400 silver Dahon Mariner B7 foldable bicycle that had been secured with cable and U locks at the North Berkeley BART station between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

There were three disturbance calls: at 3:38 p.m. in the 2300 block of McKinley Avenue; at 5:15 p.m. in the 2300 block of Telegraph Avenue; and at 10:15 p.m. in the 1000 block of University Avenue.

According to the BART police, a thief grabbed an iPhone 6 from a woman’s hand while she was on a Fremont-bound train approaching the Ashby BART station at about 6:15 p.m. The suspect fled the station in an unknown direction. … Continue reading »

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Government

The lowdown: Berkeley council on protests, drones, more

Council listened to hours of testimony about the Berkeley protests Tuesday night. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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At tonight’s Berkeley City Council meeting, officials are set to discuss how to proceed in terms of issues that arose during December’s protests in Berkeley; consider the approval of a two-year moratorium on drones; and adopt a new building energy-saving ordinance.

At 5:30 p.m., a council worksession will include a projection on the city’s future financial liabilities, as well as an overview of the 2015 mid-year budget report. From that report: “General Fund revenues are now projected to be up by $4.2 million.”

According to the budget report, several city departments spent less than expected in 2014, but “these savings will be absorbed by the Police Department which is projected to exceed its budget by $1.2 million.” Most of that money “is due to overtime expenditures exceeding the budget amount due to overtime and non-personnel costs related to the demonstrations that took place in December 2014.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

2 men charged after fatal Berkeley shooting

Kamahl Middleton
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Two men have been charged with murder after the shooting death in December of an El Sobrante man in a West Berkeley parking lot.

Carl Young Jr., 20, and 18-year-old Khalil Leroy Phanor, both of San Leandro, were charged Monday with murder, second-degree robbery and assault with a firearm by the Alameda County district attorney’s office.

Berkeley police arrested Young on Thursday in Oakland, but Phanor is still at large. Officers arrested a 17-year-old male on Thursday as well, but his status was unavailable from authorities Monday because of privacy laws protecting minors.

The fatal shooting took place Dec. 29 on San Pablo Avenue, just north of University Avenue in West Berkeley, in a parking lot used by the 99 Cents Only store and other businesses, and adjacent to Everett & Jones Barbecue. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police find empty house after reported hostage call

Two police vehicles at Tacoma and  Colusa. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Update, 11:45 p.m. Berkeley Police Lt. Jennifer Louis confirmed that police have cleared a home in the 1800 block of Tacoma Avenue, and found no one inside despite an earlier report of a dangerous situation there.

Louis said a caller phoned dispatch at 9:26 p.m. to report a domestic violence incident at the North Berkeley home.

Officers responded and searched the home, but ultimately found it to be empty.

Louis said the caller provided “very limited information” while speaking with dispatch, and that there was a possibility the call had been a hoax.

Update, 11:30 p.m. Officers have swept the house and determined that the interior is clear. Perimeter units have been released from the area.

Original post, 10:52 p.m. Berkeley police officers are on the scene in the 1800 block of Tacoma Avenue, between Colusa Avenue and The Alameda, after a man called police and told them he had stabbed his girlfriend, had tied up her lover and was threatening to shoot him. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police arrest 2 after December killing

Kamahl Middleton
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Police have arrested a 20-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy in connection with the double shooting in Berkeley in December of an El Sobrante paraplegic who died at the scene, and a woman with him who survived the attack.

Police arrested Carl Young Jr. on Thursday in Oakland on suspicion of murder, second-degree robbery and assault with a firearm. He was arrested at 9 a.m. but was not booked into Berkeley Jail until just after midnight Friday, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department. The teenager’s name was not released because he is a minor.

Young is being held without bail, and is scheduled for arraignment Monday at 2 p.m. at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland in Department 112.

The fatal shooting took place Dec. 29 on San Pablo Avenue, just north of University Avenue in West Berkeley, in a parking lot used by the 99 Cents Only store and other businesses, and adjacent to Everett & Jones Barbecue.

The Berkeley Police Department’s homicide detail has been actively investigating the case since the night of Dec. 29, police said Friday.Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Feb. 5-11

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know 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. 

From Feb. 5-11, there were reports of three robberies23 burglaries18 assaults or batteries, no weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 18 stolen vehicles23 disturbances and 25 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included two assaults and a stolen vehicle. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

Thursday, Feb. 5

There were two home burglaries, at 11 a.m. in the 1000 block of University Avenue, and at 9 p.m. in the 1300 block of Bonita Avenue.

There were two disturbances, at 1:20 p.m. at Telegraph Avenue and Oregon Street, and at 5:23 p.m. in the 2700 block of Hillegass Avenue.

Police arrested 31-year-old Quincy Mason on a warrant for vehicle theft and other violations. He remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail and was scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Feb. 19. He is ineligible for bail because he was already under law enforcement supervision. Police also arrested Vanessa Rascon, 35, in connection with the same case. She remains in custody with a bail of $200,000 and was set for a pre-trial hearing Thursday, Feb. 19. She has been charged with vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, forgery and identity theft, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley student charged after alleged sexual assault on fraternity brother

Alpha Epsilon Pi at UC Berkeley. Image: Google maps
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A UC Berkeley student has been charged with two felony counts after police say he sexually assaulted a fraternity brother at their  home Friday.

Berkeley Police Officer Kenneth Tu wrote in court papers that 21-year-old Jordan Schaer reached into the pants of a sleeping fraternity brother and groped his penis, according to the alleged victim. Tu wrote that the student claimed Schaer also tried to put his finger into the young man’s anus.

Schaer’s attorney, Kellin Cooper, said Wednesday that he expects his client to be fully exonerated of the charges against him.

“Sexual assault allegations are often times made simply by a verbal statement without any corroboration,” Cooper said by email. “Unfortunately, all too often the allegations are quickly adopted by law enforcement and they become close minded to the truth and only view facts skewed toward the allegation rather than evaluate facts objectively. This is what happened here. I expect that after Mr. Schaer has his day in court the truth will come out and he will be exonerated of all charges.”

The incident is alleged to have taken place at 2430 Piedmont Ave., at the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house where both young men lived. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police link Berkeley felon to 6 gas station robberies

Police linked a Berkeley man to six gas station robberies in 2013 and 2014. The Alameda County district attorney's office has charge him in connection with two. Image: Google maps
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A Berkeley man police tied to six gas station robberies along University Avenue in 2013 and 2014 is heading to prison after entering a guilty plea for one count of felony second-degree robbery.

The Alameda County district attorney’s office initially charged Alphonzo McInnis, 23, with three felony counts of second-degree robbery in connection with two incidents in October, and misdemeanor grand theft due to a stolen credit card that was used after one of them.

According to the district attorney’s office, McInnis pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to second-degree robbery, and will serve time in state prison as a result. McInnis attended Berkeley High School, according to his Facebook page.

In court papers, Berkeley Police Officer Mike Parsons wrote that he was convinced McInnis was the culprit in two robberies in Berkeley — on Oct. 3, at Chevron, and Oct. 29, at the Econo Gas station — despite the fact that he had covered his face during the incidents.  … Continue reading »

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Cluster of police arrest resistant homeless man (video)

Readers wondered about the arrest of a homeless man earlier this week in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Moby Theobald
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Several readers asked Berkeleyside to find out why it took seven officers to detain one man in downtown Berkeley earlier this week.

Wondered Stefanie Kalem: “Anybody know what just happened with seven cops and one very agitated man on the corner of Shattuck and Addison?”

The incident drew some attention because it took place in a highly trafficked area at a busy time of day, and involved quite a few officers and police vehicles. Video of the incident appears below.

The scuffle ultimately drew at least 10 officers to Shattuck Avenue and Addison Street on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at about 4:15 p.m. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said police were initially called for a report of a man who was “ranting, and appeared extremely agitated.”

Officers tried to speak with the man, Coats said, but he “became agitated and took a fighting posture towards the officers.” Officers tried to detain him and he became “physically combative … and resisted their attempts to take him safely into custody.”

Kevin Kunze, who was at the scene, posted the following video on YouTube, asking “How many Berkeley cops does it take to arrest one homeless person?” He wrote to Berkeleyside on Twitter and wanted to know more. … Continue reading »

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Transportation

Traffic snarled on I-80 near Berkeley, 2 accidents

Image: Sigalert.com
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Authorities are responding to two accidents near Berkeley on Interstate 80, according to the CHP, and traffic has been seriously impacted.

A SIG alert has been issued. According to a 6:18 p.m. alert, the roadway has been reduced to one lane between the Hoffman Split (eastbound) and Golden Gate Fields (westbound) at Ashby Avenue. Traffic was reported to have been completely stopped, with expected delays up to an hour. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 1/29-2/4

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know 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. 

From Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, there were reports of six robberies22 burglaries16 assaults or batteries, two weapon-involved calls and two sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 16 stolen vehicles22 disturbances and 36 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included an arson, a sex crime and a weapons call. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

Thursday, Jan. 29

Neighbors around the 100 block of Fairlawn Drive have been concerned about two threatening notes left recently at the home of a local resident. On Jan. 28, the culprit “upturned a can of oil based paint on our car and left a note” on the car indicating frustration about noise caused by crying children. A previous anonymous letter making threats about the same situation was left in the home’s mailbox. A resident on Avenida wrote on Nextdoor that she “was shocked to see this. The very same thing happened to me a bit over 10 years ago – paint in a plastic bag placed on top of my car with a note threatening to burn down my house if my son did not stop playing his drums.” Berkeley police are investigating, according to emails circulating among neighbors.

There were two disturbance calls — at 9:38 a.m. at Shattuck Avenue, and at 10:30 a.m. in the 2900 block of Ellis Street — and a “second response” call at 11:37 p.m. in the 2300 block of College Avenue.

There were two home burglaries, at 4:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of McGee Avenue, and at 9 p.m. in the 2200 block of Shattuck. (According to neighbors, burglars have been repeatedly targeting the same home in the 1700 block of McGee — first several months ago and again recently — and have stolen multiple Apple laptops. Councilwoman Linda Maio called the incidents “highly disturbing,” and asked the city manager in late January about the potential for fingerprint analysis, according to an email circulated among neighbors.) … Continue reading »

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Berkeley City Council limits police tear gas use, for now

Moni Law (right) speaks with Cal student Thanh Bercher during Tuesday's council meeting. Both have said they were injured by police Dec. 6 during a protest in Berkeley. Behind them, the line of people waiting to speak to ask council to take action about police discrimination. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to temporarily suspend tear gas use by police as a way to control non-violent crowds.

The vote also suspended the use of other chemical agents, rubber bullets and other projectiles, and over-the-shoulder baton strikes as crowd control methods used by Berkeley officers during non-violent protests. The temporary policy will remain in place until an investigation by the city’s Police Review Commission into protests in Berkeley last December is complete.

Read more Berkeley protests coverage on Berkeleyside.

The item, put forward by Councilman Jesse Arreguín, was part of package of protest-related decisions council made Tuesday night. Council also voted to support the Police Review Commission’s investigation, as well as demands by the national group “Ferguson Action” regarding efforts to curtail unfair treatment by police of people of color.

Dozens of people, including many local students, marched through the city before the council meeting, and flooded into council chambers to testify about the need for police accountability, and about why they felt action is needed. … Continue reading »

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Police release redacted reports on Berkeley protests

After denying a Public Records Act request from a local police watchdog group, the department responded with heavily redacted documents.
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The Berkeley Police Department has released two operational plans about protests in the city Dec. 6-7, but most of the wording was blacked out and redacted, so minimal information was revealed.

Andrea Prichett, co-founder of Berkeley Copwatch, requested the documents as part of two Public Records Act requests in December and January. The police department initially said the plans were exempt from release. In response to a second request from Prichett, the department provided the plans, but removed information it said related to security procedures and intelligence information.

According to a police department letter to Prichett on Jan. 26, “The disclosure of such documents could endanger public and officer safety and impede the success of future operations. Additionally, the operational plans and related documents are exempt under the ‘deliberative process privilege’ of Government Code 6255 because disclosure could have a chilling effect on the ability of the department and its command staff to candidly discuss, plan for, and respond to events requiring crowd control that are often fluid in nature.”

Read complete Berkeley protests coverage on Berkeleyside.

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan has said the department is working on its own comprehensive report about the protests. Meehan told the city’s Police Review Commission in January that the report would be released later this year, “in an un-redacted fashion so everybody will have a chance to read what we knew when we knew it, and what we believe can be done differently in the future to hopefully end up with a different result.”

The two documents released to Prichett — who shared them with Berkeleyside — came in a very different form, however. In a 13-page “Incident Briefing” about a march planned for Dec. 6, 2014, about eight of the pages were blacked out. The department left visible the names of officers who had leadership roles, including Capt. Erik Upson, who was the incident commander that night, a summary regarding known plans that had been posted on social media about the Dec. 6 demonstration, and a general two-paragraph mission statement about how it would handle crowd control. … Continue reading »

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