A Berkeley man authorities say brought a fake bomb featuring “anti Jewish writings” into the UC Berkeley Police Department has been charged with dropping off the sham explosive, but not a hate crime, according to court papers.
Michael Fleming, 48, was charged Monday by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with “sending a false bomb,” which entails leaving a “facsimile bomb” somewhere to make people fear for their safety, according to court papers. It’s a felony charge.
During his arrest, police said, Fleming made multiple “racial slurs towards the Jewish Culture” and yelled anti-Jewish statements “consistent” with the wording on the package left at the police department. Police arrested him on suspicion of a hate crime as well as leaving the fake bomb.
Last week Friday, according to the University of California Police Department, Fleming left a sealed white box in the UCPD front lobby then left the area. The station is located at 1 Cross-Sproul Path, just north of Bancroft Way near Telegraph Avenue. The box had multiple phrases on it. One read, “bomb inside.” Other messages were anti-Semitic, such as one that said “All Jews Fuck Off and Evaporate.” Police said there was also a Nazi symbol on the box.
UCPD sent a bomb technician shortly before 10 a.m. to investigate the package, according to court papers. The bomb team X-rayed the box and confirmed it did not contain explosives.
Police reviewed surveillance footage from the lobby, and wrote that they could see Fleming put the package inside the lobby door, according to court papers. In the footage, they could see what he was wearing and said he had an “odd limp to his walk.”
About two hours later, an officer stopped Fleming at Durant and College avenues — about five blocks from his home in the 2400 block of Haste Street — and asked him to sit on the sidewalk, according to court papers.
Fleming “said he did not speak English and said racial slurs towards the Jewish Culture,” police wrote. When officers put handcuffs on him, he began “yelling anti Jewish statements” similar to the ones on the package from the station.
Fleming declined to make a statement to police about the package but, during the ride to Santa Rita Jail, police wrote, he “made several remarks” about how the officers with him were Jewish and said they were “going to ‘Evaporate.’”
He was booked into jail in Dublin without incident.
Fleming remains in custody at Santa Rita with a bail of $10,000. He is scheduled to enter a plea next week Friday, according to county court records online.