An officer keeps watch outside Pappy's on Telegraph in 2013 (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
An officer keeps watch outside Pappy’s on Telegraph after a busy night (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
An officer keeps watch outside Pappy’s on Telegraph after a busy night (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso

Five men were charged this week after a dispute that began over a spurned dance invitation inside Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, police said.

According to court papers, the men “had possibly ‘thrown up’ gang signs and yelled that they were affiliated with a gang” before the attack. The victims told police they had no gang affiliation and had not met their assailants before that night.

Police responded Sunday at about 1:50 a.m. to reports of a large fight on the corner of Telegraph and Durant Avenue, said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman.

Coats said one group of people had been inside Pappy’s, at 2367 Telegraph, when members of another group approached and asked some women to dance. The women refused. According to court papers, the first group had been celebrating a birthday.

“The suspects left and there were no other issues inside the business,” Coats said.

The birthday group left and was standing on the corner when violence struck.

Coats said a 22-year-old man identified as Alex Develin of Bay Point approached, and punched a 28-year-old Castro Valley man, knocking him to the ground. The man lost consciousness, according to court papers.

The men with Develin — identified as four Bay Point residents, Neftali Ballesteros, 22, Richard Develin, 24, and Briallan Gonzalez-Hernandez, 21, and Angel Salinas, 24, of Pittsburg — then punched and kicked the Castro Valley man while he was on the ground.

According to court papers, he was later taken by paramedics to Highland Hospital with a possible head injury.

A 29-year-old woman identified in court papers as the first man’s spouse, and a 25-year-old San Ramon man, came to his defense, and “they were also attacked,” Coats said. According to court documents, Richard Develin punched the woman in the face. The San Ramon man was “punched and kicked in the body.”

Both of those victims suffered minor injuries but declined medical transport to the hospital, Coats said. According to court papers, however, one of them later sought treatment at the hospital for a possible dislocated shoulder.

The men fled but police were able to locate and detain them a short time later near a construction site in Berkeley.

Police said the men appeared to be hiding behind parked vehicles and looked to have been involved in the fight “because they were sweating, short of breath and possibly injured,” according to court papers.

The group was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. All five have been released, and are scheduled to enter pleas May 13.

According to court papers, the men were charged with three misdemeanors: battery, in connection with the woman, and two counts of battery causing serious bodily injury in connection with men.

Alex Popov, owner of Pappy’s, said Thursday that his team takes safety and security very seriously. He said, on busy nights, he has seven people working security at the establishment, an approach he took given the reputation and record of the prior business at the location. As far as he knows, he added, that may well be the largest security force at any bar in Berkeley.

He also emphasized that none of the violence took place inside, or directly outside, his bar and grill.

“We pride ourselves on being a clean, fun, safe place,” Popov said Thursday. “We have no incidents here.”

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...