Open Letter to Berkeley Officials Regarding Hit and Run on Telegraph Yesterday

Marcia Poole
Wednesday January 23, 2019 - 06:44:00 PM

Greetings Mayor, City Council members and Berkeley community,

I don't know if you were aware of the felony hit and run at corner of Telegraph and Durant yesterday afternoon, January 22nd. A car pushed into a protest march that was moving along Telegraph Avenue from Peoples' Park to the UC campus. The march was in protest of the arrests made of 6 protesters in Peoples' Park days before and the cutting of the trees there that precipitated the protest.

The car drove down Telegraph into the peacefully assembled marching group as they walked down the street, veered off onto the sidewalk on Durant (adjacent to Noah's) and continued down the sidewalk for half a block before getting back onto the street. A man was sleeping adjacent to Noah's with his legs extended towards the street. He was a blind, African-American man who went by the street name of "Blind Tony." The car ran over his legs. Several protestors tried to run after the car to get the license number, but were restrained by a tall young man who told them to "Stop fighting. Let UC have the park." They broke away from him and tried to continue to chase the car, but it had accelerated out of their sight. An ambulance was called and the victim of the hit and run was taken to the hospital. The young man (around 6'2"), who had tried to restrain the protesters from getting the license # of the car, got knocked down when he had tried to grab a protesting woman. He cried on the pavement and had an ambulance come for him too.

There was obviously a 911 call about the incident for the ambulance to have been summoned. It happened on the City of Berkeley sidewalk and street. The Mayor and Councilman from the district had not heard about it as of this afternoon, when they were informed. They said there was no police report that they knew of. 

Several things are very wrong with this. First, the car drove down Telegraph into the peacefully assembled group that was walking down the street. They were protesting Civil Rights violations and the cutting of many healthy trees. The driving into the demonstrators who were peacefully moving down the street was an obvious hate crime. The car's moving onto the sidewalk, running over a sleeping man's legs and proceeding on the sidewalk for half a block and then going the wrong way down the street, heading towards Shattuck, was a felony hit and run. Since the ambulance was summoned to the site and took the injured man away, the police were obligated to respond. We can't find the police record of it yet and city officials were not told about it. I think this warrants an investigation and, certainly, reporting in the press on it. Shades of Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Marcia Poole Berkeley