Sayyadina Thomas. Photo: UCPD

The woman charged this week with feeding methamphetamine to a 2-year-old boy at People’s Park in Berkeley has a history of violence against authorities, the Alameda County sheriff’s office told Berkeleyside on Thursday.

Sayyadina Thomas, 36, most recently assaulted a sheriff’s deputy Tuesday, cutting and scratching the deputy’s face, said Sgt. Ray Kelly, sheriff’s office spokesman. The attack happened in the office while Thomas was getting booked into jail, and the deputy received minor injuries. She was treated and released from a local hospital.

But that wasn’t the first time Thomas clashed with officers, Kelly said.

In June 2014, three female deputies had what he called “a really bad run-in” with Thomas when they responded to a trespassing call at a San Leandro apartment complex. The call “went really sideways” when the deputies tried to detain Thomas, “and the fight was on.”

Kelly said Thomas bit one of the deputies and broke the wrist of another. One of the women had to medically retire as a result of her injuries, he said.

“It was a pretty intense fight that went on,” he said.

He said Thomas is well known to the department due to her repeated detentions over the years.

At the time of her arrest Monday, she was still on probation for the 2014 fight. According to county records online, Thomas entered a no contest plea to one count of felony resisting in that case. The sentence was not immediately available.

Kelly said Thomas is considered a “high-risk inmate” due to her history of violence. That means she is held in administrative segregation, given her own room, and restrained in handcuffs when she is moved from place to place. Two deputies accompany her when she is moved, Kelly said.

“When you have previous histories like this, you’re not going to take any risks,” he said. “We don’t want to have to use force on her, or for her to hurt us. We mitigate that any way we can.”

According to online court records from Alameda County, Thomas has a history of arrests dating back to 2002 when she was sent to jail briefly on a misdemeanor case for a charge described as recklessly setting fire to the property of another person. In 2005, there was a misdemeanor assault arrest that was dismissed because no witness would cooperate. The next year, there was another misdemeanor arrest related to resisting arrest resisting arrest and causing injury to a peace officer; a no contest plea in that case sent Thomas to jail for about six months.

In 2008, there was a felony battery case that sent Thomas to jail for about two months. There were no additional arrests listed until the 2014 fight in San Leandro.

Last July, Thomas was arrested on a misdemeanor related to indecent exposure and engaging in lewd conduct. That case was dismissed in January, according to Alameda County court records online.

Thomas wrote in an essay on Alternet in 2003 about the significant challenges she faced growing up with a mother who was a prostitute who struggled with drug use. She said she was raped at gunpoint at age 12 when she lived in a group home in East Oakland, as well as other challenges.

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...