After several weeks of increasing youth activity, which erupted into violence in downtown Berkeley last week, police have reorganized their staffing and plan a highly visible presence downtown to keep the peace Friday.
Last Friday, hundreds of high school students from Berkeley and Oakland roved around downtown. Some of them got into fights and several youth were pepper sprayed by one juvenile during several hours of “chaos” and “mayhem” downtown.
Berkeley Police Lt. Dave Frankel said today that “The Police Department, in an effort to stem potential violence and havoc caused by high school-aged kids, has shifted resources around to ensure that there are plenty of officers on the street to deal with it. We’re not going to tolerate any unlawful behavior.”
Frankel said Berkeley Police are working with school officials “to try to curb what transpired last week.”
Berkeley High School Principal Pasquale Scuderi could not be reached for comment Friday.
After last week’s activities, two Berkeley High students were arrested and released to their parents, one for punching someone, the other for resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. A student from an Oakland charter school was also arrested for battery via pepper spray, Frankel said last week.
Last Friday, May 9, was the second time this month that large numbers of high schoolers disrupted business as usual downtown.
The prior week, Friday May 2, police responded shortly before 4 p.m. to Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way “for hundreds of BHS students milling around and throwing water balloons at each other, vehicles and passers-by. Officers responded. One subject threw a water balloon at an officer, striking her. When she detained the individual, the crowd surrounded her, necessitating a call for immediate back-up. Additional officers responded and monitored the crowd until it dispersed. One person was arrested.” The person arrested was a juvenile male.
Berkeleyside will update this post if the story develops Friday. We invite readers to share photographs, videos or observations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: Rowdy high schoolers disrupt Berkeley downtown (05.09.14)
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