News

Berkeley High School Safety Officer Arrested for Identity Theft

From Sgt. Mary C. Kusmiss, Berkeley Police Department Public Information Officer
Monday February 27, 2012 - 04:26:00 PM

“City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Property Crimes/Fraud detectives arrested William Arthur Keys Jr of Oakland on Thursday, February 23, 2012 for violation of 530.5 PC - Identity Theft. “Billy” Keys as he is widely known was arrested at the Public Safety Building. A BPD detective booked him into the BPD jail at about 11:30 a.m. for the crime, a felony, with a bail of $10,000. The arrest was the culmination of an investigation that was documented on a BPD police report January 24, 2012. Subsequent warrants were secured and probable cause existed to arrest Mr. Keys. There is a possibility that the investigation may be ongoing, thus this is all the information BPD is sharing currently.” -more-


Press Release: Berkeley Police Report that Young Man Injured in Fall From Building

From Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, Berkeley Policce
Monday February 27, 2012 - 02:39:00 PM

“At about 11:34 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, 2012, the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) got a call for service regarding an individual who fell from a the backside of a fraternity at 2395 Piedmont Avenue (N/E corner of Piedmont at Channing Way). BPD patrol officers arrived within four (4) minutes and found a person down on a pathway between 2335 and 2395 Piedmont Avenue. Officers made an initial first aid assessment of the unconscious male, but there was obvious head trauma and a lot of bleeding. City of Berkeley Fire Department (BFD) paramedics responded, tended to immediate medical needs and transported the subject to a local trauma center where he was treated for several injuries including severe head trauma. BPD officers shared that the individual displayed objective symptoms of alcoholic beverage intoxication.” -more-


Head of Security at Berkeley High School Accused of Identity Theft

Sunday February 26, 2012 - 02:17:00 PM

Berkeley High Principal Pasquale Scuderi sent the following letter on Friday to Berkeley High School staff and families:

In an attempt to head off speculation and to be out in front of any rumors, I want to inform the community of a very difficult development that has occurred within the Berkeley High School Community. On Thursday, following a law enforcement investigation, Berkeley High School safety officer William Keys was interviewed and arrested by the Berkeley Police Department on allegations of identity theft. -more-


New: Judge Orders Competency Report for Berkeley Murder Suspect

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday February 24, 2012 - 11:44:00 PM

Criminal proceedings against an Alameda man who's accused of murdering a homeowner in the Berkeley hills have been suspended so that a report on his mental competency can be conducted, prosecutors said today. -more-


Berkeley High Student Shot in Oakland is Recovering

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Friday February 24, 2012 - 07:40:00 AM

A Berkeley High School student shot on the streets of Oakland this morning has had surgery and is resting and recovering this afternoon, a Berkeley schools spokesman said. -more-


Immigrant Steel Workers March in Berkeley Against Unjust Firings

By David Bacon
Thursday February 23, 2012 - 05:45:00 PM

Two hundred immigrant workers, their wives, husbands, children, and hundreds of supporters marched through downtown Berkeley February 17, protesting their firing from Pacific Steel Castings. The company is one of the city's biggest employers, and the largest steel foundry west of the Mississippi River. Starting at City Hall, they walked for an hour past stores and homes, as bystanders often applauded. Teachers and students at a Montessori school along the route even came out to the sidewalk to urge them on. -more-


One Victim in String of Oakland Shootings Was Berkeley High Student

By Scott Morris (BCN) and Planet
Thursday February 23, 2012 - 02:29:00 PM

Police in Oakland are investigating a string of overnight shootings and a possible homicide at a home in the Oakland Hills, police said. According to the Oakland Tribune, one victim was an 18-year-old Berkeley High student. -more-


Updated: Suspect Arraigned for Death of Berkeley Homeowner

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday February 22, 2012 - 09:54:00 AM

An Alameda man was arraigned today on a murder charge for allegedly killing a homeowner in the Berkeley hills on Saturday night.

Daniel Jordan Dewitt, 23, is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Thursday to see if the Public Defender's Office will represent him on the charge that he killed 67-year-old Peter Cukor outside Cukor's home at 2 Park Gate Road at about 9 p.m. Saturday.

Dewitt is the grandson of the late former Alameda city councilman and interim Alameda Mayor Al Dewitt, who died in 2003. Daniel Dewitt's father, Al Dewitt Jr., said outside court today that Dewitt has suffered from mental illness since the age of 18. -more-


Press Release: Berkeley Homicide; Updated Information Release

From Lt. Andrew Greenwood, BPD
Tuesday February 21, 2012 - 05:19:00 PM

Today the Berkeley Police Department is releasing updated and additional information regarding the homicide from Saturday night, February 18, 2012.

Several published and on-line reports relied on a single account of an inaccurate chronology of this incident. Please note below the actual timelines of the initial stages of this case.

At approximately 8:45 PM, BPD received a report of a suspicious person possibly trespassing. The caller reported an encounter with an unknown person “hanging around” his property, and asked that an officer be sent to investigate. This call for service was queued for dispatch. -more-


Mother of Suspect in Berkeley Murder Says He is Mentally Ill

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday February 21, 2012 - 08:26:00 PM

The mother of a 23-year-old man who is accused of beating a Berkeley hills homeowner to death said today that he's been mentally ill for more than four years but was neglected by the mental health system. -more-


As Berkeley Questions BPD Over Hills "Murder," and Cops Blame Occupy, We Offer Some Answers (News Analysis)

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday February 22, 2012 - 09:54:00 AM

Berkeley police have reportedly said they were "monitoring" an Occupy Oakland-Occupy Cal protest, which arrived on Telegraph from Oakland at 10:25 p.m. Saturday, more than an hour after a "murder" in the hills.

Two of my Planet articles written on Sunday, cast doubt on that. One article covered the Saturday Oakland-Cal demo, and another covered an anti-Bank of America protest on Telegraph. I was at both protests.

Cop-count: on upper Telegraph at noon, Saturday, as the BA protest began: zero, 0, zip. Cop-count at 10:20 p.m., on lower Teley, when Occupy Oakland arrived to unite with Occupy Cal, blocking traffic and chanting "Fuck the police": zero, 0, zip. -more-


New: Early Morning Fire Burns West Berkeley Cottage at Art Studio

By Bay City News
Wednesday February 22, 2012 - 10:19:00 AM

Firefighters are crediting a smoke alarm with alerting residents to an early morning fire that burned this morning at an artist's live and work space in West Berkeley. -more-


Homeless Shelter and Classical Chorus Converge

By Lydia Gans
Tuesday February 21, 2012 - 08:26:00 PM

"It was a dark and stormy night ...” some of us may remember those words from when we were kids sitting around a campfire shivering in anticipation of a scary story. On a recent dark and stormy Monday night two very different stories were taking place at First Congregational Church in Berkeley.

Inside the church assembly hall some 200 singers of the Berkeley Community chorus and Orchestra (BCCO) were rehearsing the dramatic Requiem Mass of Antonin Dvorak in preparation for their spring concert. At 10 o'clock director Ming Luke ended the rehearsal and everyone hustled to stack the chairs and move risers and piano into the far end of the room. The exhausted but inspired singers closed their music books and headed for their homes.

Outside on the dark street a large group of homeless people were gathered with their meager possessions waiting to to be sheltered inside. The music rehearsal venue was turned into an emergency storm shelter for the homeless. Word had been sent out that the shelter would be set up because cold and rainy weather was expected. It is not a regular homeless shelter. There is only enough money to operate it about 35 nights out of the year in extremely inclement weather. Funding comes almost entirely from the city of Berkeley with some additional support from Dorothy Day House which operates the shelter. -more-


FIRST PERSON: When to Say "Yes" and When to Say "No" to Panhandlers

By Jack Bragen
Wednesday February 22, 2012 - 09:50:00 AM

Panhandling has always been an important part of human existence, ever since people were put in poverty by a society that sometimes lacks mercy. It is not fair or accurate to say that you should never give money to a panhandler. There are people who would perish without the generosity of strangers. We can not presume to know that they created their own problems and should reap the results. There are plenty of people who became poor largely due to circumstances that weren't under their control. -more-