A Berkeley man with a history of arrests kept police at bay with a pit bull dog on University Avenue Monday until two police negotiators talked him into surrendering.
The confrontation went on for more than an hour and police closed a section of University in the 2000 block near the old UC Theater while it was ongoing.
Eventually they arrested 37-year-old Austin White on charges of trespassing, threatening a police officer and illegal lodging in a public place, said police spokeswoman Jenn Coats.
According to Coats, 14 Berkeley officers were involved in the incident, including two with special training in negotiation.
“It happened to be that they were on duty at the time and they have a special skill set that was used in this situation and they were able to resolve the situation peacefully,” she said.
Coats said police responded to a call Monday morning at 11:24 when a suspect was seen spray-painting BART property in the 2100 block of Shattuck Avenue. At 1:50 p.m., police saw the suspect walking in the area. They attempted to arrest him, but he fled on foot and backed into a doorway and used his pit bull to keep officers away.
White was arrested at around 3:00 p.m. No one was hurt during the incident and there were no reported injuries. The dog was released to a friend of White’s, according to Coats.
Coats said White has been “problematic” in downtown Berkeley and at People’s Park for at least a year. He has been arrested previously for fighting, trespassing and sleeping in parks.
Want to get a digest of all the day’s Berkeley news in your email inbox at the end of your working day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.