Update, 1:30 p.m. The city of Berkeley has ended its nightly curfew. Scroll to the bottom of this story for the city’s statement.
Original story, 12:20 p.m. Berkeley is poised to call off its emergency curfew after two relatively quiet nights in the city, authorities report.
The curfew was set to last until Friday morning but it will be rescinded Thursday, a city spokesman told Berkeleyside just before noon. A message from the city will be released soon. Berkeleyside will update this story when that information is published.
Alameda County lifted its version of the curfew late Thursday morning following the same move Wednesday from San Francisco.
CURFEW LIFTED: Effectively immediately, The Alameda County Sheriff has rescinded the temporary emergency curfew order. Please check with your local jurisdiction for curfew restrictions pertaining to individual cities in Alameda County.
— Alameda County Sheriff (@ACSOSheriffs) June 4, 2020
As a charter city, however, Berkeley has the authority to make its own rules in relation to public safety and other operations. Originally, Berkeley enacted a curfew through Wednesday morning but later extended it through Friday after a split City Council vote Tuesday night.
Berkeley officials and staff had said they would consider ending the curfew early depending on the public safety situation in town. Saturday and Sunday saw dozens of police calls related to commercial burglaries and reports of looting. Since then, however, the city has seen not seen widespread problems.
Bay Area cities enacted curfews this week following demonstrations against police violence that swept through the area after last week’s killing of George Floyd during his arrest by Minneapolis police. Many thousands of protesters demanding an end to systemic racism have made their voices heard in cities around the nation, while some have taken advantage of the unrest to commit crimes.
Berkeley has not seen the massive demonstrations that have taken place in other places this week.
Mayor Jesse Arreguín told Berkeleyside the city’s decision Thursday was the right one.
“I am pleased that the curfew will be lifted and the public safety threats that led to its imposition are no longer a concern,” he said. “We have been able to protect our businesses and residents, and facilitate peaceful protest. This was not an easy decision, but one that was made to protect our community. We wanted to ensure that the curfew was lifted at the soonest possible opportunity given the significant imposition it poses on the community.”
City: Nighttime curfew “is no longer necessary”
The city of Berkeley released its statement about the end of its emergency curfew Thursday just after 1:10 p.m. The city said it had rescinded its curfew because attempts to loot local businesses have declined. Police will continue to monitor the situation. The city message appears below in full.
City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley, in her capacity of the Director of Emergency Services and in consultation with Police Chief Andrew R. Greenwood, has rescinded a nighttime citywide curfew as attempted incursions by those seeking to loot or commit crimes in Berkeley have significantly subsided over the past two nights.
These criminal incidents have also diminished throughout the region on consecutive nights, meaning that there is greater regional capacity for agencies to assist each other.
“This type of sustained, coordinated, nighttime looting seen in Berkeley and around the region has not been seen in modern history,” said Williams-Ridley. “The use of a nighttime curfew, an extraordinary tool for an extraordinary circumstance, is no longer necessary.”
“Berkeley Police will closely monitor the situation in the days to come,” said Police Chief Greenwood, adding “community members and merchants should do the same.”
This decision comes after six consecutive days of a full mobilization of the Berkeley Police force, which was quickly responding to criminal attempts throughout the city and made numerous arrests. Yet, some looting continued. It wasn’t until Monday night — the first night of the curfew — that looters were prevented from raiding Berkeley businesses.