Tuesday, September 14, 2010

People of People's Park, Berkeley

(Doug Oakley Photo)
A young man who declined to give his name starts his morning with a group of others at People's Park in Berkeley in September. A nearby business leader claims the city and UC Berkeley have lost control over those who use it. Several violent incidents have occurred there recently including: On Sept. 8, a 63-year-old man standing on the corner of Haste Street and Telegraph Avenue near People's Park was surrounded by a group of young men in their 20s who started kicking and punching him. They took his backpack and fled. The man was hospitalized with injuries to his face, head and body.
The victim could not provide details about the attack "due to the severity of his injuries," according to a UC Berkeley Police department statement.On Aug. 17, two Berkeley police officers attempting to serve a warrant on a man in People's Park were surrounded by 30 people who screamed at them, videotaped them and threw cans of dog food at them. One homeless man was arrested on two counts of battery on a police officers and possession of a dangerous weapon.

In the last week of August a group of people in the park surrounded some UC Berkeley tree trimmers, who were accompanied by Berkeley and UC Berkeley police officers, and forced the officers to leave. Reports vary but people using the park say UC Police used pepper spray on one man and his dogs.

Also in the last week of August UC Berkeley police responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon in which a 29 year old woman was attacked by 20 others over the disciplining of a dog in the park. Her friend, a 27-year-old man, was hit over the head with a skateboard. No arrests were made because none of the participants cooperated with police.

A man who goes by the name of Aldus and who spends his evenings sleeping in Berkeley trees, starts his day in People's Park on Sept. 2. He said many of the transient homeless being blamed for the latest round of violence in the park come from Santa Cruz or San Francisco after they "get kicked out," of those cities. (Doug Oakley Photo)

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