No charges filed for Berkeley homeless crackdown protesters

BERKELEY (KRON) — The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office said Monday that it won’t file criminal charges against any of the four people, including Berkeley City Council candidate Nanci Armstrong-Temple, who were arrested during a police enforcement action at a homeless encampment last Friday.

Prosecutors said their decision not to file charges was based “in the interest of justice” but didn’t elaborate.

City of Berkeley spokesman said the city began clearing out the encampment in front of the Berkeley Food & Housing Project, also known as the HUB, at 1901 Fairview Street at Adeline Street, near the Ashby BART station at 5 a.m. on Friday after warning the people there several times to pack up and leave.

About 20 homeless activists had set up small tent cities at that location and several nearby sites during the past month to protest homeless services coordinated by the HUB.

Homeless activist Mike Zint, of First They Came for the Homeless said 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.

Chakko said the new system is aimed at finding long-term housing for homeless people and priority is given to people who have a disability and have been on the street for the longest time.

Chakko said most of the people at the encampment agreed to move on when police and city officials came to the site on Friday morning but some people resisted and four people were arrested.

Armstrong-Temple’s communications director, Debra Avery, said Armstrong-Temple, who is one of two candidates challenging three-term incumbent Darryl Moore in District 2 in West Berkeley, came to the encampment after Zint issued a call for community support.

Avery said Armstrong-Temple was injured while she was being arrested for offering assistance to 65-year-old disabled activist Barbara Brust, who Avery said provides support at the corner of Adeline and Fairview

Avery said police officers told Armstrong-Temple that she might be charged with lynching, the term the state uses for removing someone from police custody.

Avery said Brust, who founded Consider the Homeless, was also injured while she was arrested for allegedly disturbing the peace.

Chakko said that in addition to Armstrong-Temple and Brust, police arrested 48-year-old Michelle Lot of Oakland for allegedly disturbing the peace and a man who emerged from a tent and used a bullhorn to incite others.

He said the man threatened to kill himself and was placed on a psychiatric hold.

Chakko said police might seek an out-of-custody disturbing the peace complaint against the man.

Armstrong-Temple, who has been endorsed by actor and activist Danny Glover, and bookkeeper Cheryl Davila are both challenging Moore in the District 2 race.

Activists from the Anti Police-Terror Project and the Nanci For Berkeley Campaign demonstrated outside the Wiley Manuel Courthouse Monday morning in anticipation of the possibility that Armstrong-Temple would be charged and arraigned.

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