TELEY TALES: Stumbling Out My Door: Berkeley's Telegraph Puzzled by Major Cop-Op

By Ted Friedman
Friday June 21, 2013 - 07:35:00 AM

The man down was roaring like a mad man at Teley/Dwight. 

He was attended to by more than ten BPD and a supervisor or two. Nine cop cars blocked the busy intersection. A crowd of twenty grew at the edge of the spectacle. 

He was thin. No more than eighteen. He was wrapped in a black leg restraint and cuffed from behind. Sometimes he was quiet but then for no apparent reason he would roar gobbledygook. 

"It's Meth," said a spectator. "Heroin," said another.  

"They tazed him," someone said. "Berkeley Cops don't have tasers," someone corrected. 

Someone mentioned Kyla Moore, who died under similar cop conditions, recently--affected by drugs and mental illness. The street blamed tasers then, too. 

A Berkeley paramedic fire truck showed up to add to congestion. The crowd grew. Another paramedic truck showed up from Montclair. "They're going to take the kid to John George nuthouse," someone said. 

"Why does it take all these cops standing around?" 

"It shows they're being careful," said one.  

"They're just grab-assing," a cynic suggested. "First they call back-up and when all the other cops show up, there's a cop convention and social hour. I've seen it before," the cynic continued. 

"You have to identify yourself to me," a belligerent young woman shouted at a cop. He pointed to his shirt insignia, identifying himself. 

"Asshole, leave the cops alone," someone said to the girl. 

A clerk at Bows and Arrows on Teley, a trendy shoe store was no more than a few feet from the thin boy down. She had stepped out of her store. "He stopped in front of our store and had the dry heaves. When a passing cop tried to help him, he went off. 

When he was detained, he fought and the officer called for help," she said. 

Across the street at Berkeley Hats, "why does it take so many cops," the owner wondered. 

My mind returned to an old conversation with the chief. I told him that I had been stopped in front of the pol;ice station running a red light on my Schwinn in 1970. Five cop cars converged on my as I roared my indignation.  

"Why does it take five cars to give one bicycling ticket," I yelled. 

"You were being obstreperous," the officer said. 

When the chief stopped laughing and shaking his head over the word, obstreperous. "I've never heard that one," the chief said. 

"I remember the word," I said because I was surprised a cop would use such a great word rather than the word resisting, or "giving me a bad time." 

The thin kid was obstreperous, but he was mentally ill. What was my excuse? 

Cop-ops are the melodramas of our lives.