Felon charged with battery, lewd conduct at Berkeley library

A 27-year-old man reported to have pushed and hit a librarian after “masturbating to pornography” on a computer at the downtown Berkeley library is now facing criminal charges and a civil restraining order barring him from all Berkeley libraries, according to court papers.

Jallah Korvah, a homeless parolee, was arrested Sept. 24 at the main library, at 2090 Kittredge St., shortly before 2 p.m., according to court documents. Police said he had initially gone into the library at 10:45 a.m., then sat down at a computer and began to masturbate. He left briefly, then returned and, according to court papers, “began watching pornography on the computer and masturbating for a second time.”

When a library manager confronted Korvah, according to court papers, he pushed her twice then struck her in the face with his open hand. He fled before police arrived. The manager called police “as is the protocol when patrons are believed to be engaging in illegal activity,” according to court documents.

But Korvah “refused to leave and continued to approach patrons and staff aggressively while masturbating,” according to court papers. He “was agitated, screaming and verbally inappropriate.” When the manager asked him to leave, “he carried out a wholly unprovoked course of threatening conduct toward her including shoving her repeatedly and ultimately hitting her in the chin and cheek.”


Later that day, however, Korvah returned to the library and was detained, police wrote. The city decided to seek a restraining order against him due to his “violent threats” against the library worker “and his repeated attempts to expose himself to staff and patrons (including underage patrons who frequent the library),” according to the city.

When he was in jail, according to court papers, Korvah also spit blood at a Berkeley officer.

Korvah is on parole for assault with a deadly weapon, according to court documents.

On Thursday, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Korvah with five misdemeanors: engaging in lewd conduct, indecent exposure, battery, terrorist threats and battery upon a peace officer.

On Friday, the city of Berkeley filed a request for a restraining order against Korvah, according to civil court filings. The city writes that Korvah “made a credible threat of violence” against the library employee and that his statements “would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her safety.”

The city has asked for a stay-away order to keep Korvah at least 100 yards away from the library worker, her vehicle and all branches of the Berkeley library. A hearing in the civil case is scheduled for Oct. 15.

Korvah remains in custody with a bail of $70,000 and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Monday at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

Correction: The original arrest at the library took place Sept. 24. The story has been corrected.