A Scream from Berkeley’s People’s Park

by Steed Dropout
April, 21, 2014


The Scream. Photo by Ted Friedman.

With People’s Park’s 45th anniversary upcoming next week and a “symposium” exploring, “What is to be done [in the park] now?” scheduled for the eve of the anniversary, the news featured here represents life as it is lived in this Berkeley shrine to oppositionality–Editor’s Comment.

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Just another mild-mannered citation in People’s Park, it seemed. A lone bicycle cop ticketed a lone guy at a People’s Park picnic table. Berkeley Reporter snapped a shot and went back to the Med.

The Ticket. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Our operative, who was tuned to the police broadcast, said go back. BR went back. Cop backup showed up for a nasty scene–resisting arrest at least, major psycho-eruption, for sure.

Reinforcements. Photo by Ted Friedman.

According to the photographs BR took, this was an open container beef that got out of hand.

Another Berkeley Reporter operative filled-in the details of the incident. When the cop cited the suspect, this is what BR’s operative heard: “F your ticket and F you….” Suspect throws citation on the ground and steps on it.

Cop: “I need you to pick that [citation] up, sign it, and put it in your wallet.”
Suspect: “F you and your ticket, too,” as suspect grinds ticket into the dirt of People’s Park with his heel.

The cop calls for back up, a hulk, who wrestles the suspect into a squad car. Berkeley Reporter is there for the suspect’s big scene. And then he screams. According to the police scanner-broadcast, the screams were high pitched. “Sounded like a woman shrieking,” said our operative.

While the suspect was screaming in the back seat of the squad car, a park regular named Uncle Al was threatening to “kick your ass good, when you [the screamer] get out.”

“Why is that, Al?” we wanted to know.

“He called us all niggers,” Al said. The screamer was white.

With the screamer hand-cuffed in the back seat of the cop car, still shrieking, Al continued to make his kick-ass threat.

“If you do kick it when he gets out, you’ll be the number one suspect,” I pointed out.

As the bicycle cop, who had heard Al’s threats, pedaled away, he called to Al over his shoulder, “I don’t want to hear that, Al.”

These views do not represent those of publications in which my work appears.

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