Police Blotter

Friday December 12, 2003

Woman Attacks Two In Bookshop, Ends Up Bloody in the Street 

A woman inexplicably attacked two shoppers with her bare hands at early Tuesday afternoon at Mr. Mopps Children’s Books, 1405 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Police said they arrived at the store to find the woman getting into her car parked outside the store. 

Berkeley BPD spokesperson Kevin Schofield said that when police ordered her out of the car, she pulled the car out, striking one officer in the leg. Police at the scene quickly boxed in the car with three patrol cars, then approached her again and demanded she leave her vehicle, Schofield said.  

When she refused and began turning the wheel to the left in the direction of two officers, one smashed open the drivers’ side window and opened the door, Schofield said, enabling two officers to yank her from the car. 

The police spokesman said that when the woman continued to violently resist, several officers pinned her on the pavement and held her there until the could confine her in a velcro binding called The Wrap. 

A witness to the arrest, Julia Klems, who watched from a nearby bus stop bench, said the woman didn’t resist and added that she believed the officers had used “excessive force” in throwing her to the ground. Klems said the “slightly built” woman remained pressed against the pavement for about twenty minutes, bleeding from her forehead and hands.  

“It all seemed really unnecessary,” Klems said. “I thought it was strange that they used so much force. She really wasn’t struggling.” A Daily Planet photographer who witnessed the incident agreed. 

Police arrested Tonita Wiemels, 40, of Albany on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon (her car), two counts of battery and one count of evading a policeman. 


Second Jogger Assaulted While on Bay Trail 

For the second time in a month, a woman was attacked while running alone on the Bay Trail north of University Avenue. At approximately 6:43 a.m. Tuesday, the culprit tackled the woman from behind and shoved her into nearby bushes where he sexually assaulted her, police said. Ultimately the victim managed to escape and run into the street, where she flagged down a passing car and called police from a pay phone at the Seabreeze Market. 

Two people in an SUV also saw the victim and darted out of their car to chase after the assailant but failed to track him down. The attacker is described as an Anglo or Latino male, medium build, late 20s, and between 5’10” and 6’ feet tall. He was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt and dark pants. 

Police suspect he is the same man who attacked a woman jogger on a similar stretch of West Frontage Road—which runs parallel to the Bay Trail—early in the morning of Nov. 9. In that incident the woman was also tackled from behind, but escaped prior to any sexual assault. Police urge any witnesses to contact the Sex Crimes Detail at 981-5735. 


More Dangerous Than Tom Cruise with a Kendo Stick 

An Monday night altercation at a screening of The Last Samurai at the California Theater spread to the street at approximately 11:30 p.m. According to police, a group of three men behaved boorishly during the action flick, causing a different group of moviegoers to complain to management. The three men zipped up, but after the movie, as the other group left the theater, the three men pulled beside them in a Lexus. One of the trio pointed the gun at a man in the group and threatened to shoot him before the car departed.