Category Archives: Police
Berkeley Police traffic officers will be out for a special enforcement effort Saturday to educate — and potentially ticket — pedestrians who violate traffic laws.
The Berkeley Police Department will be in the downtown area Saturday, Jan. 24, on the lookout for pedestrians who flout signal lights and fail to use crosswalks, along with other safety issues.
Police said this week that, according to 2013 data, most of the city’s injury collisions with pedestrians involved pedestrians downtown. That year, 24% of all collisions with injuries involved pedestrians, according to a statement released Thursday by the department. … Continue reading »
Update, 3:30 p.m. PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said Friday afternoon that the company has identified the cause of Tuesday’s power outage as an equipment failure during testing at an East Bay substation.
Sarkissian said she learned Friday that the outage actually originated at a substation in El Cerrito, not in Berkeley as had previously been reported by PG&E. She was not able to provide the exact location of the station.
Sarkissian said the testing had been planned, but that additional details about the nature of the equipment failure are still under investigation. She stressed that PG&E is focused on ensuring that its system is safe and reliable, and said she will release additional information when it is available.
Original story, 1:30 p.m. Tuesday’s widespread power outage in Berkeley and nearby cities kept first responders busy with one accident that sent a cyclist to the hospital, five elevator rescues and a handful of other calls, authorities said. … Continue reading »
Update, Jan. 24, 8:45 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department said the two arrests referenced by Principal Glenchur were for incidents that happened Friday: A 15-year-old was arrested on suspicion of possession of a BB gun on the school campus; and a 14-year-old was arrested on suspicion of being a non-student who refused to leave, and reentered campus. Both were Berkeley residents, according to Police Lt. Jennifer Louis. Berkeleyside will request additional information from the Berkeley Unified School District, which has not responded to a request made Friday regarding those arrests, as well as the police department.
Update, Jan. 23, 4:36 p.m. School Principal Kristin Glenchur sent a statement to the school community at 4:23 p.m. reporting that police have made two additional arrests in connection with Thursday’s fights, “and additional administrative consequences are being considered.”
Glenchur wrote that Friday was a normal day for Berkeley High: “Dismissal was quiet today. We had 3,000 students completing finals without incident. The campus was fully functional, and I’m very happy with the efforts of our staff and the support we received from our district and community partners.”
Berkeleyside asked the Berkeley Police Department earlier on Friday about the additional arrests, but no information has thus far been provided.
Update, Jan. 22, 6:41 p.m. Police arrested a 15-year-old boy in the 2100 block of Milvia Street following the 2:15 p.m. fight downtown, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats by email at 6:35 p.m. His city of residence was not immediately available, but he was arrested on suspicion of battery. … Continue reading »
Berkeley residents reported finding two boars’ heads and skin pelts in two separate locations Monday morning.
The boar-skin pelts were found in front of Black & White liquor store on Adeline and Emerson, and in front of Herbivore restaurant on Shattuck and Haste. Police officers arrived at the former location — which is also very close to vegetarian restaurant Flaco’s Tacos at 3031 Adeline — and removed the pelt after receiving a call at 11:06 a.m., according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.
The head recovered by police was taken to Berkeley Animal Care Services on Bolivar Drive in West Berkeley.
Police also received a call about the second sighting of a boar’s pelt at 9:29 a.m., but a downtown Berkeley ambassador removed the pelt from the site before an officer arrived.
The boar heads made rounds on Twitter after Berkeley resident Anna Abramson uploaded her discovery on Adeline Street. Abramson saw it around 11 a.m. as she and her girlfriend were walking to Berkeley Bowl.
“I completely didn’t know what to think,” Abramson said. “We were just kind of standing there.” … Continue reading »
Last week, Berkeley’s Police Review Commission voted unanimously to launch an investigation into the police response to protests over the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown that halted business as usual in Berkeley in December.
Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan told the citizen oversight panel during its Jan. 14 meeting that his department is working diligently on its own review of the protests, which is set to be complete within the next few months. Meehan said an officer, a sergeant and a lieutenant are working on the report “nonstop,” full time — as of earlier this month — under the direction of Berkeley Police Capt. Cynthia Harris.
“This is not going to be something that will sit around for six months and then nobody will ever see it,” Meehan told the PRC. “When it is complete, it will be made public 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.”
Read complete Berkeley protests coverage on Berkeleyside.
Instead of waiting for that report’s findings, the commission voted to begin its own probe into why police used tear gas and other force on protesters Dec. 6, along with several other issues that have been raised as concerns by some community members over the past month. Commission Vice Chair George Perezvelez said the community might think the PRC was shirking its duties if it failed to take prompt action.
“Our own investigation is independent from theirs,” he told his fellow commissioners. “As good as all that information will do us, it just doesn’t sound like our process.” … Continue reading »
More than five weeks after Berkeley police used tear gas, smoke bombs, and over the shoulder baton strikes to control a crowd protesting the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the City Council held a meeting Saturday to examine community relations with police.
More than 200 people gathered in the atrium of the Ed Roberts campus for a five-hour town hall meeting, some holding up signs with “Black Lives Matter,” and “Stop racial profiling! BPD come clean.” While some of the public testimony concerned police actions Dec. 6, the first night of a weeklong series of demonstrations in Berkeley, much of the talk touched on the broader societal ills that have affected African-Americans.
From a panel of experts that included professors from UC Berkeley to Sheila Quintana, the principal of Berkeley Technical Academy, to a host of politicians including Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, to long-time residents of Berkeley, those in attendance focused on issues of race, jobs, affordable housing, and equitable education as pressing issues that must be addressed immediately.
“Police brutality and the killing of black bodies is horrific, however it is only a part of the problem that affects the relationship between the police and the black community,” Barbara White, a member of the Berkeley chapter of the NAACP testified in front of the council. “Structural and institutionalized racism and white privilege is at the root of the dehumanization of black people.” … Continue reading »
Members of the Police Review Commission expressed concern Wednesday night over policy complaints filed by two residents of the 2100 block of McKinley Avenue describing how their street was blocked off, taken over, and used as a police staging area for five days in early December during demonstrations in Berkeley.
The controversial take-over prompted Police Chief Michael Meehan to attend the PRC meeting and pledge that his department would develop a policy to ensure that a similar situation doesn’t happen again.
Read complete Berkeley protests coverage on Berkeleyside.
“We’ve been looking at a lot of different strategies on how we can make sure this does not happen again in the future,” said Meehan. … Continue reading »
By Mara Van Ells
Over the last month, the Black Student Union at UC Berkeley has organized three separate events to protest police killings of unarmed black men.
Students have marched on the streets, through local businesses, and sat in at cafés. The demonstrations have allowed students to grieve, heal, and show solidarity with protesters in Ferguson and Staten Island. But they have also been a way to express concerns about race relations at Cal.
Cal senior Blake Simons feels “extremely blessed and grateful” to be a student at UC Berkeley. But he is also unhappy with the racist experiences he’s had while attending school.
“I’m not going to be the last black student at Cal, so it’s time now we start trying to make change,” he said. … Continue reading »
A cyclist remains in the hospital with serious injuries after he was struck by a driver who left the scene in Berkeley on Tuesday night.
Police have released minimal details about the incident.
Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said the accident took place just before 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, on University Avenue at McGee Avenue.
Coats said by email that dispatchers received calls about an injury collision involving a vehicle and cyclist, as well as reports that the driver had fled the scene.
The bicyclist suffered serious injuries and was still in the hospital as of about 7 p.m. Wednesday. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council will meet twice this week, once Tuesday for a special meeting on several zoning board appeals, and also Saturday for a special meeting to discuss community relations with police after protests that wracked the city in December. There are a number of additional community events and council decisions coming later this month related to the protests. Scroll down for details.
Berkeley meeting: Jan. 13
Tuesday’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. and has just three action items, as well as a consent calendar item related to council seating arrangements. The action items relate to zoning board appeals about 2401 Warring St., and companion projects at 2201-2205 Blake St. and 2204 Dwight Way. Staff recommends the issuance of a use permit in the first case, and denials of permits in the other cases. (All three decisions would uphold prior zoning board votes.) Most of the letters submitted to council (online here and here) relate to the companion projects — which their critics describe as a mini-dorm — and are in opposition. A representative for project owner Nathan George has asked council to overturn the zoning board decisions, describes the companion projects as sensitive to the neighborhood, and disputes their characterization as problem properties (page 3).
The meeting is set to adjourn in memory of philanthropist Alba Witkin, who died in December, and former Cheese Board member Frieda Dilloo, who died in November. A memorial for Dilloo is scheduled for Jan. 18 at The Crowden School.
Berkeley protests meeting: Jan. 17
Berkeley continues to deal with the aftermath of protests in December related to the non-indictments of police officers involved with the fatalities of men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York. The city’s Peace & Justice Commission met Monday for an open forum about race issues and policing. This Saturday, council will meet to discuss next steps. Monday, Covenant Worship Center is holding a “Black Lives Matter” discussion. And, on Jan. 20, Councilman Jesse Arreguín has placed three items related to Ferguson and local police conduct on council’s agenda. That same night, Councilman Darryl Moore has an item on the agenda asking the city manager to look deeper at whether Berkeley police should be required to use vehicle dashboard and body cameras. … Continue reading »
Berkeley emergency responders rescued a woman from the water at the Berkeley Marina early in the morning on Sunday, Jan. 11.
At 5:32 a.m., Berkeley’s emergency communication center received a report of someone in the water at the Berkeley Pier yelling for help, according to Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb. Both Berkeley police and firefighters responded. … Continue reading »
On Dec. 6, the first night in a wave of demonstrations in Berkeley related to the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Berkeley Police officers used tear gas to disperse crowds on Telegraph Avenue. Many individuals involved with that first night’s protest said the use of force, which also involved baton strikes and less-lethal projectiles, was unwarranted. Police said officers only took those steps after making dozens or even hundreds of dispersal orders, and being attacked themselves with a range of projectiles thrown by members of the crowd earlier in the night.
Read complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent anti-police demonstrations.
The Berkeley Police Department said costs to the city have not yet been tallied for its response to the protests — in which crowds ranged from 100 to 1,500 or more people during the first few nights. But the department anticipates costs in excess of several hundred thousand dollars, said Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan. The department does not yet have an estimate for damages to businesses.
Berkeleyside posed a list of questions to Meehan on Dec. 7, and received responses Dec. 18. The questions, some of which have been edited for clarity, follow, along with Meehan’s answers and several videos posted online by members of the crowd. … Continue reading »
Hundreds of protesters who took part in anti-police and Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the East Bay in December will need to wait, possibly up to a year, to find out if they have been charged after they were arrested during the protests, some of which turned violent.
A group of protesters and their supporters gathered at Oakland’s Wiley Manuel Courthouse on Tuesday morning expecting to hear whether the Alameda County district attorney’s office would take action.
But no charges have been filed, said Dennis Cunningham of the National Lawyers Guild, who was there to help the protesters. The group — a mix of students and community members — learned that, for many of the arrests, police reports have not been filed, leaving the possibility of charges an open question. … Continue reading »