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Berkeley City Council candidate arrested in raid on homeless tent city

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday November 04, 2016 - 03:46:00 PM

Berkeley City Council candidate Nanci Armstrong-Temple and at least two other people were arrested this morning when police raided a small homeless tent city that was set up to protest the way the city provides homeless services, a spokeswoman for Armstrong-Temple said. 

Armstrong-Temple's communications director Debra Avery said Armstrong-Temple, who is one of two candidates who are challenging three-term incumbent Darryl Moore in District 2 in West Berkeley, has been taken to the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. 

Police raided the tent city at the intersection of Adeline and Fairview streets, near the Ashby BART station, at about 5 a.m. today and Armstrong-Temple was one of many people who responded to homeless activist Mike Zint's call to come to the site for assistance, according to Avery. 

Armstrong-Temple was injured while she was being arrested for offering assistance to 70-year-old disabled activist Barbara Brust, who Avery said provides support at the corner of Adeline and Fairview streets. 

Avery said Brust, who founded Consider the Homeless, was also injured and taken into custody by police, according to an eyewitness account and videos of the incident. 

Berkeley police haven't released any information about the arrests and referred questions to city spokesman Matthai Chakko, who hasn't responded to a request for comment. 

Berkeley police did issue a traffic alert saying that there is a "civic demonstration" in the area of northbound Martin Luther King Jr. Way, north of Ashby Avenue. 

Avery said she understands that Zint, who's with the advocacy group First They Came for the Homeless, asked people to come to the area for a community march to protest the crackdown on the homeless encampment. 

About 20 homeless activists have set up encampments at several locations during the past month to protest homeless services coordinated by the Berkeley Food & Housing Project, also known as the HUB, which is located at 1901 Fairview Street at Adeline Street. 

The first small tent city was located in front of the HUB's office but after police and city officials moved people away from that location on Oct. 7 the protesters moved several blocks away to a median in the middle of Adeline Street between Ward and Stuart streets, near the Berkeley Bowl grocery store. 

The tent city was briefly moved across the street to Shattuck Avenue near the Kirala restaurant but then activists moved back to the pavement in front of the HUB about two weeks ago. 

Zint, who wasn't immediately available for comment today, said several weeks ago that homeless activists are upset with the city's new system for allocating aid to people who live on the street because they think the HUB is disorganized, makes it hard for people to get help and sends homeless people out of the area to get housing. 

Avery said the raid today was carried out by nearly two dozen Berkeley police officers and more than a dozen city workers. She said more than a dozen official city vehicles were deployed to tear down the encampment and dispose of the homeless people's property. 

Armstrong-Temple has been a constant supportive presence at the encampment, according to Avery. 

She said organizers, campaign staff and supporters are calling for the immediate release of Armstrong-Temple and asking for community support. 

Avery said police officers told Armstrong-Temple that she may be charged with lynching, which the California Penal Code defines as, "The taking by means of riot of any person from the lawful custody of any peace officer." 

Armstrong-Temple has been endorsed by actor and activist Danny Glover. 

The other candidate who is challenging Moore in the District 2 race is bookkeeper Cheryl Davila. 


CONTACT: City of Berkeley spokesman Matthai Chakko (510) 981-7008 Berkeley police (510) 981-5900 Debra Avery for Nanci Armstrong-Temple (510) 512-0410 


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