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Victims of Downtown Berkeley Association Ambassador assault have already been sentenced in plea bargain.

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 27, 2015 - 08:06:00 AM

Two men shown in a YouTube video in an altercation with a pair of Downtown Berkeley Association “Ambassadors” have already entered into a plea bargain and been sentenced. They were arrested by Berkeley Police on March 19.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has released the names of the two men, Nathan Christopher Swor and James Wilbur Cocklereese, whose struggle with a pair of “ambassadors” employed by the Block-by-Block company under contract with the Downtown Berkeley Association was captured on video by Bryan Hamilton.

A male “ambassador” is shown repeatedly punching one of the two men, who seems to be arguing with him but does not have a weapon. The Block-by-Block employees were identified in court documents as Jeffrey D. Bailey and Carmen Maria Francois. 


Yesterday an apology was issued by DBA CEO John Caner which said, in part, “the DBA was shocked by this totally unacceptable egregious behavior, that runs completely contrary to the extensive training, protocols, and mission of hospitality and outreach of our Ambassadors, Block-by-Block (our contractor / service partner), and the Downtown Berkeley Association. “ Caner’s press release said that the man assaulted by Bailey “appears to be a member of the city's street population.” 

Swor and Cocklereese were charged on Monday by the district attorney’s office with multiple offenses, including assault, assault with a deadly weapon, exhibiting a deadly weapon, disturbing the peace by offensive language, battery and criminal threats. 

The DA’s office told the Planet yesterday that the case has already been resolved. The two, represented by a public defender and a court appointed attorney, pled “no contest” to a lesser related offense as a misdemeanor. 

The declaration on which the original charges were based was signed by Berkeley Police Officer Donavan Edwards. His statement did not mention the series of punches which the video shows Bailey landing on one of the men. Bailey and Francois were not charged with anything. 

From the video it appears that Cocklereese was the one assaulted by Bailey, and that Swor attempted to defend him. Swor was initially charged with swinging a “pole (6-foot long) with a blade (4-inch half crescent shaped) at both victims”. 

According to the DA’s office, Swor was sentenced to “2 years of Court Probation, credit for time served, restitution fund fine, three-way search, do not possess weapons, stay away from CVS, stay away from Victims and Restitution.” 

Cocklereese also pled no contest to charges which did not include a weapon, with the same disposition. He also admitted a probation violation for 30 days which he will complete through the Sheriff’s work program. 

Both defendants are supposed to be back to court on May 18, 2015 for determination of restitution to the victim. 

The Berkeley Police Department’s Public Information Officer Jennifer Coats told the Planet yesterday afternoon that the department had not been informed of the disposition of the case against Swor and Cocklereese. 

Coats said that to the best of her knowledge no charges had been filed against Bailey or his colleague Carmen Maria Francois, though the BPD had seen the video which shows the assault.