Update, June 3: A Berkeley City Council majority voted early Wednesday morning to extend the city’s curfew to Friday morning but pushed the curfew start time to 9 p.m. Council members Cheryl Davila, Ben Bartlett, Kate Harrison and Rigel Robinson vote no.
Original story: A nightly curfew begins in Berkeley and the rest of Alameda County at 8 p.m. Monday and requires nearly everyone to remain indoors until 5 a.m.
In Berkeley, the curfew order is currently set to last through Wednesday morning, city staff confirmed to Berkeleyside shortly after 7 p.m. But the City Council could change the schedule during its regular meeting Tuesday night.
The Alameda County sheriff’s office announced the curfew in a text alert Monday just before 3:25 p.m. It said the order applied to the entire county and “requires all non-exempted persons in the County to remain indoors between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.” The order is in effect elsewhere in the county until Friday unless county leaders rescind the rules before that time.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín wrote on Twitter just after 5:30 p.m. Monday that, unlike the county, Berkeley’s curfew would be in place through Wednesday morning. Arreguín wrote that Berkeley is a charter city and has the autonomy to make its own rules.
The order follows widespread civil unrest, demonstrations against police violence, looting and violence in the Bay Area in recent days.
The order does not apply to emergency workers or military personnel; people seeking medical help or heading to their work or home; the media; or people experiencing homelessness.
The curfew was prompted by “conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property” in Alameda County “as a result of civil unrest, violence, looting, arson, and the destruction” of property “in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd,” according to the order.
The county said the curfew is necessary because “there exists imminent danger to life and property during the hours of darkness.” As a result, aside from those who are exempt, residents are not allowed outside in public from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Violation of the curfew is a misdemeanor and violators may be subject to arrest, according to the order.
Berkeley has seen extensive looting and property damage in recent days.
“The threat level to Berkeley is significant,” said Berkeley city spokesman Matthai Chakko. “It’s happening all over the region. That puts a tremendous strain on law enforcement.”
Chaotic weekend in Berkeley
Berkeley has not seen the widespread political demonstrations that have taken place in other East Bay cities in recent days. But calls for police service related to commercial burglary attempts and looting have spiked, authorities said.
In the early hours Monday, the Berkeley Police Department arrested 10 people in connection with burglary and looting offenses in the city, said Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman. That followed several other arrests in connection with looting Saturday night, he said.
Berkeleyside reviewed the nine BPD arrests listed in Inmate Locator on Monday morning, which were tied to three separate cases. Two of the cases involved the recovery of a firearm, according to jail records online. Seven of the arrests included an allegation of looting, in addition to other crimes, such as the possession of burglary tools or stolen property.
None of the adults arrested live in Berkeley, according to police records. Their cities of residence were listed as Benicia, Winters, Hayward, San Francisco, Rodeo, Hercules and San Pablo, said BPD in response to a Berkeleyside inquiry.
White said there were dozens of incidents over the weekend — from Saturday night through early Monday morning — related to looting or burglary calls.
The calls began Saturday shortly before 10 p.m. when someone broke into Target at 1414 University Ave.; during an initial response, officers found only a broken window. During a subsequent call, police found two people and arrested them.
Around the same time, someone broke into Walgreens at San Pablo and Ashby avenues, White said. Police chased the culprits on foot but they got away. An hour or so later, several people tried to break into Berkeley Technology Academy, but police found no one when they checked the area.
At midnight, someone broke the glass door to get into Farmacy Berkeley, a cannabis dispensary on Sacramento Street. Thirty minutes or so later, White said, someone broke into the North Face Outlet on Fifth Street by sawing off security bars blocking a window.
At 4 a.m. Sunday, someone broke into a business in the 2600 block of Ashby. White said an off-duty police officer saw someone standing in a doorway there and called it in. Police responded and found the door forced open.
Officers were able to stop the drivers of three separate vehicles in connection with that incident, White said. He did not immediately know if arrests had resulted from that case. Many of the reports from the weekend have not been completed because so much has been going on, he said.
Sunday night was even more intense, White said, as caravans of people intent on looting began driving into Berkeley in waves. At 9:40 p.m., a vehicle stop resulted in the discovery of stolen property, he said. An hour or so later, police responded to a burglary report on Russell Street.
Just after 11:20 p.m., there was a burglary at Bayside Medical on Telegraph Avenue and police made an arrest, White said. That was followed by burglaries at Walgreens on Adeline Street and Cannabis Buyers Club Berkeley (CBCB) on Shattuck Avenue within the next hour.
Just before 12:40 a.m. Sunday, police made five arrests in connection with a burglary at US Liquors on Sacramento Street. That arrest included firearm violations, according to booking records online.
Within the next few minutes, police got calls about another burglary at Farmacy, a burglary on Russell Street and a burglary at Office Depot on 10th Street, White said.
Just before 2 a.m., police stopped a vehicle at Shattuck Avenue and Dover Street and made arrests after discovering stolen property. Around the same time, a car stop at Haste Street and Shattuck resulted in more arrests in connection with a gun, White said.
About 20 minutes later, there was another burglary report in the 2600 block of Shattuck, which had been the target of thieves less than 24 hours prior, White said. Around 3 a.m., police stopped a stolen vehicle at University Avenue and Frontage Road and made an arrest. At 3:20 a.m., there was another call about a burglary report at Farmacy.
At 4 a.m., police responded again to CBCB for another burglary call. Shortly before 6 a.m., someone tried to break into Oaks Jewelers on Solano Avenue. Then, at 6:20 a.m., police were called to Walgreens on Gilman for a burglary. There were no arrests.
Throughout the night, police attempted to stop suspicious vehicles in the city but many of the drivers failed to yield, White said. White said none of the vehicles had protest signs or any other obvious connection to recent demonstrations in the region.
On Monday night, Berkeley police planned to continue the increased staffing that began over the weekend.
“We are aware of and monitoring the situation, preparing for a number of contingencies,” said White, who does not generally go out on patrol at this time because his primary job is to share public information. But he, too, would be out on the streets Monday night following a patrol shift Sunday night on Fourth Street. “It’s all hands on deck, including myself. We are out there to protect, prevent and ultimately deter any type of violence or theft.”
Note: This story was shortly updated after publication and corrected to include the end date of the county order, which is Friday, June 5, elsewhere in Alameda County. Berkeleyside added the section about recent arrests and looting, and the update from the city about the curfew timeline, shortly after 7 p.m.