William Turner. Photo: BPD

William Turner is facing new charges in Alameda County Superior Court this month after police say he grabbed two boys, ages 12 and 14, and asked them for “weed” as they walked to school.

Turner made the boys “uncomfortable,” according to court papers, and he has since been charged with two counts of battery in connection with those interactions.

Turner, 37, has been tied to a number of bizarre interactions involving children in Berkeley over the past year, prompting police to put out a community warning with his photograph in September. In January, a jury was unable to reach a verdict in an indecent exposure case that landed Turner in jail last fall, and he was released from custody.

Despite the January mistrial, an Alameda County Superior Court judge found that Turner had violated the terms of his probation, and he was set for sentencing Feb. 13. But, instead of showing up for that hearing, Turner was wandering around Berkeley, according to authorities, trespassing on one resident’s porch, and asking for “Girl Scouts” at the YWCA.

Police were unable to find Turner on Feb. 13, but word spread among officers that they should keep an eye out for him. Officer Kenneth Tu spotted Turner the next day, according to court papers, near two Berkeley schools.

Turner’s probation terms require him to stay “at least 100 yards away from all Alameda County playgrounds and schools,” Tu wrote in court documents. As a result, Tu arrested Turner, at University Avenue and Chestnut Street, at about 8:40 a.m. on Feb. 14.

During the arrest, Tu said two boys, ages 12 and 14, “reported to us that Turner grabbed them and asked if they had weed while they walked to school, making them uncomfortable.”

In addition to the two battery charges, Turner is also facing a misdemeanor charge of disobeying a court order.

He is being held on $5,000 bail at Santa Rita Jail, according to Alameda County jail records online. His next court appearance was not listed as of Friday afternoon.

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...