Category Archives: Police

Carol Berry, Berkeley’s first female patrol officer

Carol Ann Berry
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Carol Ann Berry, the first woman to work patrol for the Berkeley Police Department, and a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, passed away at home surrounded by her loving family on March 7, 2015. She was 66.

Carol was born in Oakland on Oct. 7, 1948, the daughter of the late Warren Becton and Ernestine (Johnson) Becton. She was the second of three daughters.

Carol received her education in Oakland public schools, graduating from Castlemont High School. Carol received her … Continue reading »

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CHP seeks driver who fled after Berkeley crash injures 5

A crash on I-80 earlier this week sent five people to the hospital. Photo: Don Melandry
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The California Highway Patrol is looking for a driver who caused a crash on the freeway in Berkeley earlier this week that overturned his vehicle and sent three children and two adults to the hospital.

According to Deputy Berkeley Fire Chief Avery Webb, three vehicles were significantly damaged in the four-car collision. Westbound Interstate 80 was shut down for 10-15 minutes during the initial emergency response.

The crash took place Wednesday at 1:20 p.m., said Oakland CHP spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld. A caller reported a collision on westbound Interstate 80 at University Avenue in Berkeley.

Wilkenfeld said the suspect’s 2015 Jeep Patriot, a rental car, rear ended a 1996 Honda Accord driven by a 32-year-old Oakland woman, causing the Jeep to overturn. There were three children — ages 2, 4 and 11 — in the Honda. They were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The Honda’s driver also was taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment. … Continue reading »

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Caldecott Tunnel bore re-opens after car collision, fire

Caldecott tunnel fire 3.16.15. Photo: CHP
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The eastbound, right-hand bore of the Caldecott Tunnel re-opened at around 11:15 this morning after being investigated for damage following a collision and subsequent vehicle fire that forced its closure.

The accident, which happened around 6:45 a.m. in heavy commuting traffic, prompted authorities to evacuate several dozen drivers by foot and caused significant traffic back-ups in the surrounding area.

CHP was already on the scene of an earlier traffic accident at 6:20 a.m., which had occurred on eastbound SR-24 inside the Caldecott tunnel, when they heard about a second incident. “Officers had cleared that collision and were on the Fish Ranch Road off-ramp when a citizen stopped to report an additional collision had occurred inside the tunnel,” CHP reported in a press release at 10:20 a.m. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Police work on neighborhood staging guidelines

Police from other jurisdictions provided mutual aid to the Berkeley Police Department during recent protests, and set up on McKinley Ave. Photo by
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In response to criticism about how they treated residents on McKinley Avenue in December, the Berkeley Police Department is working to establish a new set of rules for commandeering a neighborhood during large-scale protests or events.

Berkeley Police Captain Andrew Greenwood presented a proposed set of guidelines to the Police Review Commission on Wednesday night. He also apologized again for the manner in which police treated residents on McKinley Avenue, which is located right behind the Berkeley police department’s HQ, during the December “Black Lives Matter” protests.

“By failing to communicate with the neighbors ahead of time we caused a very bad situation for them,” said Greenwood. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley set to require surveillance video at liquor stores

Bing's Liquor
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Two young men were shot and killed near Bing’s Liquors store on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley in 2013. The homicides contributed to a recommendation this week that liquor stores in certain commercial areas of the city install or upgrade their surveillance systems within the next six months.

In the report that was given a first approval by the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday, police identified the areas of concern as downtown, University Avenue, Telegraph Avenue, San Pablo Avenue, north Shattuck Avenue, and Shattuck and Adeline.

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, who submitted the recommendation, said many liquor stores in the city already have video surveillance cameras. However they are not always maintained and there are inconsistencies in the type of systems used. He said a typical case might see the son at a family-owned business being the only one who knows how to operate the camera.

The new ordinance would see police officers help all the relevant liquor stores get compatible digital equipment that is in working order, he said, speaking at a special session in which the police presented their 2014 Crime Report.  … Continue reading »

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BART Police tower in North Berkeley prompts questions

Photo: Heidi Sachs
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When a slightly wonky-looking tower with a look-out cab on the top recently appeared in the parking lot of the North Berkeley BART station, local residents started asking questions. What was it for? How did anyone get into that cab anyway? Was it about to fall over?

It all began when Heidi Sachs sent us the above photo which we posted on Berkeleyside’s Facebook page. It prompted some enlightening comments.

We also checked in with BART who gave us the lowdown: the tower is called a SkyWatch trailer. … Continue reading »

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Big rig spill in Berkeley closes westbound lane of I-80

Big rig spill 1 Photo Greg Merritt
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Drivers are being advised to avoid I-80 in the Berkeley area after a big rig spilled its load of wood pallets by the pedestrian overpass near the University Avenue exit of the freeway at around 5:45 a.m. this morning.

At least one westbound lane was closed by authorities west of University Avenue near Frontage Road, and traffic was still severely backed up several hours after the incident. … Continue reading »

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Police

Berkeley 911: Pedestrian taken to Highland after crash; callers report loud boom, too

Image: Google maps
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A pedestrian was taken to Highland Hospital after a vehicle struck her in Berkeley at about 7:45 p.m., according to a scanner audio recording reviewed by Berkeleyside.

Authorities received a call that a female, who was unconscious with a possible head and leg injury, had been hit by a vehicle at Ashby Avenue and Deakin Street at 7:44 p.m., as per the recording.

She was on the ground when first responders arrived. One of them reported on the scanner that she … Continue reading »

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Berkeley council refers community policing package to city manager

Berkeley City Council, Jan. 27, 2015. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to ask the city manager to assess a long list of issues related to community-police relations and bring back a report on potential associated costs and related efforts that are already underway.

The broad package includes everything from changes in the way police handle the handcuffing and searches of people they stop to more training for police in racial sensitivity.

No action will be taken until the city manager’s office brings back the report, which is expected to take a significant amount of time.

“This is an enormous to-do list for the staff,” said Councilman Laurie Capitelli. “This is not weeks and weeks of work. This is months and months and months of work.” … Continue reading »

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Update: Pedestrian hit by van in West Berkeley

Image: Google maps
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Update, Feb. 26, 1:30 p.m. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats released a bit more information by email about Thursday’s crash. She said, based on the preliminary investigation, the driver was northbound on San Pablo Avenue and, as he turned left onto Allston Way, struck the pedestrian in the crosswalk.

Coats said the pedestrian was still in the hospital when she last checked, but had been able to speak with traffic investigators.

The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with the police, Coats said. Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a factor in the crash.

Coats said the driver was a 26-year-old homeless man. The pedestrian was a 63-year-old Hayward man. … Continue reading »

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Update: Missing man found safe in Oakland

Missing Berkeley
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Update, 10:22 p.m. Police announced shortly after 10 p.m. that the missing man has been found safe in Oakland.

Original post, 8:46 p.m. Berkeley police are asking the community for help in locating a missing “at risk” person.

Willie Maxie Powell, an 86-year-old man, is described as being 5 feet 4 inches tall and 162 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen in the 2600 block of Shattuck Avenue (between Carleton and Parker) on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 6:20 p.m.

At that time Powell was wearing a yellow short-sleeved polo shirt and blue jeans.

Powell suffers from dementia and other medical conditions.

Police ask anyone who has seen, or sees, Willie Powell,  to call the Berkeley Police Department at 911. … 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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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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