Berkeley police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
A Berkeley police officer was injured while arresting a woman linked to an assault downtown Tuesday. Photo: Emilie Raguso

A homeless woman police say punched a passer-by in the head without provocation, and injured an officer who tried to detain her, has been arrested in Berkeley for at least the fourth time since March.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said Dawn Carraway, 25, caused non-life-threatening injuries to the 66-year-old Berkeley woman she attacked.

The incident happened at 4:35 p.m. Tuesday when the victim was walking near Allston Way and Milvia Street in downtown Berkeley.

“As she was walking the suspect punched the victim without provocation,” said Coats.

Witnesses to the assault flagged down two Berkeley Police officers, who stopped Carraway nearby at Kittredge Street and Milvia.

According to Coats, Carraway became physically combative with the officers.

“She was yelling obscenities, spitting on the officers and [she] kicked them several times,” Coats said.

Coats said one of the officers suffered a leg injury during the struggle, and had to be taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Carraway was arrested on suspicion of battery, battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting or obstructing a law enforcement officer, probation violation and other violations. She was taken for a medical evaluation following her detention, and is not listed by the Alameda County sheriff’s department as currently in custody according to that system.

[Update, 11:40 p.m. Carraway is now in custody at Santa Rita Jail where she is being held, since roughly 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, with a bail of $115,000. She is scheduled for arraignment Friday at 2 p.m. at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.]

Carraway also was arrested in Berkeley in March after “launching an unprovoked assault” on a man inside the downtown Berkeley BART station, according to the BART Police Department. She also assaulted officers at the scene.

According to the BART Police, in that incident on March 16, Carraway “jumped on the back of a male subject and battered him.” Authorities said she was taken for a psychiatric evaluation after her arrest. Officers had to use force to restrain her to take her into custody, according to police.

One month later, on April 15, police say Carraway lit two toilet paper rolls on fire at Berkeley’s City Hall while a man in a wheelchair was using the restroom. The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged her with a misdemeanor.

In that case, police said Carraway had entered a women’s bathroom at City Hall, 2180 Milvia St., while another person was using the restroom. She lit the toilet paper rolls on fire and later told police she did it because “after she lights the paper on fire, it smells like honey.”

Carraway is on probation through Oct. 28, 2017, for illegal conduct at a burning building, and animal cruelty, according to police.

Carraway also was arrested in Berkeley last Wednesday, Aug. 5, shortly before 9 a.m. on suspicion of disobeying a court order, a misdemeanor, and was scheduled to have been arraigned the following day.

Berkeleyside has requested a booking photograph of Carraway from police and will update this story if it is provided.

Update, 4:10 p.m. Posting in defense of Carraway on the Berkeleyside Facebook page, Reyna Medina wrote, “Dawn Carraway is [an] amazing artist and community member that has from a young age helped her community in Berkeley. she has overcome amazing obstacles and has even read her poems at city council meetings. She also is currently battling serious mental health issues that have hurt who she is . because berkeley and the state has decided black lives are disposable and worthless , she has not been given the help she needs, despite her trying continously [sic] and actively to seek help. this person is important to our community and she needs support.”

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 9-15 (04.24.15)
Woman charged after setting toilet paper rolls on fire (04.22.15)

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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 of the Year...