Tag Archives: Berkeley Police


Man pepper-sprayed after punching, biting police officers

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A police call in Berkeley to a domestic dispute led to a man being pepper-sprayed and arrested after punching a police sergeant twice in the face and biting another officer in the arm, authorities said this week.

The woman involved in the dispute also struggled with police during the man’s arrest, and she too was taken into custody, police said.

Officers were called to the 1200 block of Ashby Avenue, near San Pablo Avenue, sometime before 10:25 p.m. Friday for a report of a domestic dispute, said Sgt. Andrew Frankel, spokesman for the Berkeley Police Department.

When they got there, officers determined the dispute had been verbal in nature, Frankel said. No crime had occurred. As officers mediated, the woman left the apartment.

But the man “was not satisfied with the officer’s response,” Frankel said, in a written statement. That “prompted him to call 911 over ten times to yell and vent his frustration. He was told by dispatch that he was improperly using the 911 emergency system, but continued calling.” … Continue reading »

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Dash cam footage ties man to Berkeley shooting attempt

Berkeley police investigate a shooting on Stanton Street. Photo: Daniel McPartlan
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An Oakland man has been charged with five felonies after a shooting attempt in broad daylight on a South Berkeley street last month, authorities report, after dash cam footage from a parked vehicle helped them crack the case.

Berkeley Police detectives arrested Ronnie Leggett, 39, early on the morning of Oct. 5 during the service of several search warrants at locations linked to him in both Oakland and another county, according to court papers.

Leggett is being held at Santa Rita Jail on $600,000 bail.

According to court papers, police believe Leggett is one of two people who got into an argument at about 9 a.m. Sept. 14 in the 2900 block of Sacramento Street, near Ashby Avenue.

During the argument, two shots were fired. Police say Leggett tried but failed to shoot the other person involved in the dispute, according to court documents. No injuries were reported.

Read more about shootings in Berkeley.

Leggett fled the scene, police said, in a green van that was caught on the dash cam of a vehicle parked on Sacramento Street at the time of the shooting. Police were able to use that video to get the van’s license plate, which they ultimately linked to Leggett.  … Continue reading »

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Judge tosses bulk of wrongful death suit against police

About 50 people held a rally Monday morning in support of a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of Kayla Moore. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A U.S. District Court judge has rejected the majority of a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Berkeley that criticized the way police officers handled a 2013 call involving a transgender woman in a mental health crisis.

The woman, 41-year-old Kayla Moore, stopped breathing and died after police struggled with her to take her into custody. The family filed a lawsuit in 2014 taking issue with the police response, alleging excessive force and unfair treatment because Moore was transgender.

Monday, about 50 supporters of the wrongful death suit rallied outside the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco and pledged to continue the fight. A hearing had been scheduled for Monday where attorneys for the family believed they would be able to present arguments, but those plans changed abruptly Friday when Judge Charles R. Breyer issued a ruling that threw out the bulk of the suit.

Read complete background on the case. 

The city of Berkeley filed a motion for summary judgment in June essentially arguing that the family had neither the evidence nor the facts to back up the wrongful death suit. The city says officers used “minimal force” and have “qualified immunity” under the law as to the force they did use.

Friday, Breyer issued a ruling agreeing with much of the city’s argument.

He said officers were essentially justified in trying to take Moore into custody — because she “was clearly in the midst of a paranoid schizophrenic mental health crisis,” according to a police officer’s deposition — and that there was no evidence officers used unreasonable force when she struggled during detention. … Continue reading »

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Armed robbery series has Berkeley police on alert

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Five armed robberies and one robbery attempt have been reported in North Berkeley since last weekend, and most have happened near the UC Berkeley campus, authorities report.

A flurry of Nixle alerts has been released this week by the University of California Police and Berkeley Police departments to try to warn community members about what has occurred and how to stay safe. In addition to the six-robbery series, three other robberies were reported Sunday.

The most recent notice, released Thursday by BPD, included a map of the incidents and information about most of them. BPD released limited suspect information but noted that, “Based on the descriptions of the suspects, the close geographic proximity of the crime scenes, and the victims’ demographics, Detectives believe that the cases are related.” … Continue reading »

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2 arrested after South Berkeley carjacking

This replica gun was used during a Berkeley carjacking over the weekend. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Police arrested two Oakland men, including a parolee, after a carjacking in South Berkeley late Thursday night.

According to the Berkeley Police Department, a 24-year-old Los Angeles woman had parked her car just before midnight in the 2100 block of Prince Street when three men approached her. One of them had what appeared to be a gun.

They told her to get back into her car,” said Sgt. Andrew Frankel, Berkeley Police spokesman. “The victim dropped her purse, cell phone, car keys, and ran. The suspects picked up her property and fled the area in her vehicle.”

Minutes later, a Berkeley officer on patrol spotted the vehicle in the Southside neighborhood and pursued it.

The chase ended at Halcyon Court and Prince Street when the two men in the vehicle ran. Both were detained and arrested.

Police found a replica firearm inside the vehicle. Continue reading »

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School on alert, students on edge about ‘evil clowns’

Pennywise the Dancing Clown: thought to be an influence for the 'evil clown' phenomenon that put a Berkeley school on edge Friday Oct. 7. Photo:
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The principal of King Middle School in Berkeley contacted the police Friday after becoming concerned about a threat posted on social media about ‘killer clowns’ coming to the campus, as well as to two other local schools.

Principal Janet Levenson sent an email, labeled ‘important message,’ to the school community around 2:45 p.m. explaining that many students had been “on edge all week for fear that these evil clowns will come to King or kidnap students on their way home.”

Levinson said one of King’s students showed her an Instagram posting that stated they “were going after BHS, Longfellow and King on Friday.”

Levinson said the rumor spread on campus that the clowns would arrive during fifth period. Erring on the side of caution, she contacted BPD. … Continue reading »

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Police disarm suicidal prowler with knife after standoff

Police activity on Dohr and Russell on Tuesday morning. Photo: Kester Allen
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A 50-year-old Berkeley man who threatened to kill himself as he held a knife to his throat surrendered to officers early Tuesday morning after about six hours with a police negotiator, authorities said.

The standoff began in the 2900 block of Dohr Street, near Russell Street, just before 4 a.m. Tuesday, said Berkeley Police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel.

Dispatch got a call at that time about a suspicious person or prowler, and officers responded. When police tried to speak with the man, said Frankel, he “pulled out a knife and held it to his own throat and threatened suicide.”

One local resident noticed two fire engines and four police cruisers at Dohr and Russell around 6:50 a.m., and asked Berkeleyside to find out what was going on. By about 7:10 a.m., there were seven police cruisers on the scene. Three hours later, there were three fire engines and 10 police cruisers, he estimated.

Said another neighborhood resident, on Twitter, “we were woken up at 4am by what sounded like someone in the area having a mental break.” … Continue reading »

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Cyclist sustains serious injuries after vehicle crash

A cyclist was taken to the hospital with serious injuries after a crash with a motorist Tuesday. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Update, Thursday, 1:30 p.m. BPD is looking for witnesses to the crash. Authorities ask anyone who saw the collision to call Sgt. Emily Murphy at 510-981-5982 or email her at ejmurphy@ci.berkeley.ca.us.

The cyclist remains in the Intensive Care Unit, BPD reports.

Update, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2 p.m. The cyclist, a 25-year-old Berkeley man, remains in the ICU, authorities report. (Berkeley Police originally erroneously told Berkeleyside the cyclist was a woman.)

Update, 8 p.m. BPD traffic investigators have left the scene.

Update, 6:50 p.m. Berkeley investigators remain on Sacramento Street working to document the scene after a crash earlier Tuesday that caused serious injuries to a cyclist. Several blocks of northbound Sacramento remain closed. … Continue reading »

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First responders, students question stats showing rise in alcohol abuse at UC Berkeley

Paramedics load a patient into an ambulance during a response to an alcohol poisoning call at Freeborn Hall in the Unit 1 dorms at the University of California, in Berkeley, on Sunday, August 23. The call came in as a possible alcohol poisoning case involving a 19-year-old female in the bathroom of Freeborn Hall. Photo: David Yee
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Despite official statistics suggesting 2016 was a banner year for alcohol abuse during the first weeks of the UC Berkeley school year, anecdotes from first responders and student leaders suggest otherwise.

In early September, the state bureau of Alcohol and Beverage Control released figures for the first two weekends of the school year that indicated alcohol-related incidents spiked 110% this year, compared with 2004 when the ABC bureau first started collecting data. And this year’s total of 551 incidents is up 30% from 2015.

The stats are based on a collaboration between the Berkeley Police Department, ABC and other law-enforcement agencies that is funded through a grant. The annual effort began in 2004.

Unlike previous years, where new records appear in certain citation categories such as ‘open container violations’ or ‘minors in possession of alcohol,’ 2016 set records across the board. For example, in 2016 law enforcement handed out 36 citations for ‘furnishing alcohol to minors,’ beating the 2006 record of 32.

The UC Police reported a slight uptick in hospital transports to 15, from 11 in August. But September, at least through Sept. 21, declined to 16 from 19 in 2015, according to Sergeant Sabrina Reich.

The Berkeley Police Department acknowledged that the increase was likely due to the number of officers involved. … Continue reading »

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Police on scene after person stabbed in West Berkeley

San Pablo and Gilman. Image: Google Maps
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A person was stabbed in West Berkeley shortly before 9 p.m., police say, but is expected to survive.

Berkeley Police watch commander Lt. Mike Durbin said officers responded to the stabbing, at Gilman Street and San Pablo Avenue, and remain on the scene taking witness statements and continuing to investigate.

The victim was taken to a local hospital by paramedics but is in stable condition and expected to survive, he said.

Durbin said there is no reason to think the stabbing was related in any way to recent incidents of gun violence in South Berkeley.  … Continue reading »

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City seeks rejection of wrongful death lawsuit against police; celebrity pathologist disputes cause of death

Kayla Moore protest 9/20/16. Photo: Daniel McPartlan
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Attorneys for the city of Berkeley have asked a U.S. District Court judge to reject a wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2014 by the father of a transgender woman who died in police custody in 2013.

Representatives for both parties are expected to appear in court Friday morning at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco. If the case moves ahead, the trial itself has been scheduled to begin Oct. 17, according to materials from lawsuit supporters.

Kayla Moore, a 41-year-old Berkeley resident, was in her Allston Way apartment Feb. 12, 2013, when police responded to a disturbance call there, authorities have said. She stopped breathing during a struggle as officers tried to detain her. The Alameda County coroner’s office said Moore — whose given name was Xavier — died due to “acute combined drug intoxication” and pre-existing medical conditions, and ruled her death an accident.

The city filed a motion for summary judgment in June essentially arguing that the family has neither the evidence nor the facts to back up the wrongful death suit. The city says officers used “minimal force” and have “qualified immunity” under the law as to the force they did use.

Oakland attorney John Burris, whose firm is representing Kayla’s father, Arthur Moore, has argued police had no cause to arrest Moore and “used unreasonable force” during the arrest.

To bolster the case, Burris has filed a declaration by Dr. Werner Spitz, a forensic pathologist who has worked on a variety of high-profile cases in recent decades. Spitz said restraint by the officers made it difficult for Moore to breathe and contributed to her death. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Police Department to focus on staffing, will ‘take a collective deep breath’ under new chief

Capt. Andrew Greenwood, many other members of the department, and retirees and family, attended the ceremony Thursday. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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In the wake of the abrupt departure Tuesday of Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, Acting Chief Andrew Greenwood says his short-term goals are to hire more officers and keep the department focused on the future.

“Calm, steady, forward movement is the way to go,” Greenwood told the city’s Police Review Commission on Wednesday night. “That’s kind of where I’m at.”

Greenwood was at the PRC meeting to give the regularly scheduled chief’s report and discuss the mid-year crime report, but the first topic that came up when the meeting began was Meehan’s sudden departure, announced Wednesday, and what will happen next.

Commission Chair George Perezvelez called Meehan’s resignation the elephant in the room, and noted that the leadership change — which put Berkeley native Greenwood at the helm — is “effective immediately.” … Continue reading »

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‘Suspicious package’ shuts down Public Safety Building

Berkeley Police Department. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley authorities were on alert Wednesday afternoon after a suspicious package appeared at the Public Safety Building, which houses the police and fire departments, authorities said.

The Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team and the Police Department’s Bomb Squad were sent to investigate the package, said Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken, at 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

A “shelter in place” order was put into effect for building occupants when the package was discovered shortly before 4:20 p.m.

Authorities shut down the sidewalk and a southbound traffic lane on Martin Luther King Jr. Way from Addison Street down to Allston Way during the investigation. One lane of southbound traffic remained open for vehicles.  … Continue reading »

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