Antoinette Archimede. Credit: BPD

A 56-year-old woman who has lived for many years on Berkeley’s streets has been charged with a hate crime and other misdemeanors after a disturbing interaction in the Southside neighborhood Friday.

Police say Antoinette Archimede made slurs targeting a woman’s Asian background and threw a water bottle at her, making contact, just before 4 p.m. The woman and a female friend — both of whom are in their 30s — had walked by Archimede as she sat on the sidewalk near Telegraph and Durant avenues, according to police.

When Archimede and one of the passers-by made eye contact, police said, Archimede “cursed her and her Asian ethnicity,” BPD said in a prepared statement. “The suspect then threw water bottles at the women and walked away.”

Police found Archimede nearby and arrested her, BPD said. On Tuesday, the DA’s office charged Archimede with battery, using offensive words in public, and the hate crime of willfully threatening a person based on their perceived characteristics. All three crimes are listed as misdemeanors.

Police had already arrested Archimede in January on suspicion of a hate crime after she reportedly “yelled several hateful statements about people of Mexican descent” during a violent encounter downtown. She was ultimately charged only with misdemeanor battery in connection with that incident, according to court records.

Archimede has more than 60 criminal cases listed in Alameda County Superior Court’s online docket system. She is a well-known presence on Berkeley streets and many community members have expressed concern about her behavior and circumstances over the years.

Many have said Archimede’s situation is a prime example of the failure of Alameda County’s public institutions to get her the help and support she clearly needs.

One business owner recently described Archimede to Berkeleyside as unstable.

“The problem is we have no Mental Health Services available,” the business owner wrote. “It breaks my heart to continue to see the same people on the street due to their mental health…they need help!”

As of Wednesday, Archimede was still in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to booking records online. Her next court date was not listed as of publication time.

Berkeley hate crime arrests have become more common

Hate crime arrests have become more common in Berkeley, or at least better publicized by authorities, following the wave of anti-Asian hate incidents earlier this year.

Last week, police arrested Berkeley resident Julie Walrand on suspicion of a hate crime after she reportedly called a delivery driver the N-word during an altercation about driving.

Police also arrested a 29-year-old man in April on suspicion of a hate crime when he allegedly followed two men and made disparaging remarks about their Chinese heritage.

Charges have not been filed in either case, but the incidents are likely still under review.
“A hate crime is a crime against a person, group, or property motivated by the victim’s real or perceived protected social group,” BPD said Wednesday in a prepared statement. “The Berkeley Police Department recognizes and places a high priority on the rights of all individuals guaranteed under state and federal law.  The commission of a hate crime is a serious offense, which will not be tolerated.”

Police said shortly after publication that there were 12 hate crime incidents reported in Berkeley in 2020. There have been eight hate crime reports in Berkeley already this year.

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...