A man police say threw a chair at an 80-year-old woman and tried to kick her dog after the dog barked at him in the downtown Berkeley Walgreens on Thursday has been arrested on suspicion of felony assault, attempted animal cruelty, a hate crime and other violations, authorities report.
According to police, store staff called BPD just after 3:20 p.m. to report a man who was causing a disturbance inside. Staff said the man had spit at another customer and kicked her dog, according to the initial report. Staff said they also saw the man putting store merchandise into his bag.
Police responded to the store, at 2190 Shattuck Ave. (at Allston Way), and arrested 56-year-old Brett Walker of Berkeley outside. After the small dog barked at Walker, according to police, the man tried to kick the animal and threw a chair at the woman. When the woman told the man to leave her dog alone, BPD said, he cursed at her and used a racial epithet critical of white people.
According to BPD, the 80-year-old woman, a Berkeley resident, was bleeding when officers arrived and had sustained an injury to the hand resulting from the thrown chair. She was treated at the scene.
During the arrest, BPD said, they also found Walker in possession of a crack pipe and stolen merchandise from Ace Hardware and Half Price Books.
Police arrested Walker on suspicion of three felonies: assault with a deadly weapon, causing injury to an elder adult and grand theft; as well as five misdemeanors: attempted animal cruelty, a civil rights violation (a hate crime), theft, obstruction and possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to court records, Walker was on probation at the time of his arrest due to a conviction for felony assault in December 2021. He spent 67 days in jail for that case and, upon his release, was placed on probation through 2023.
Walker has 61 separate cases listed in Alameda County Superior Court records; Berkeleyside reviewed the most recent 12 cases, which date back to 2016. Eight were misdemeanor cases and four were felonies.
In addition to his felony conviction from 2021, Walker has at least four other felony convictions dating back to 1986, according to court records: for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, drug sales and burglary.
Walker’s booking photograph was not available Friday, police said, due to technical problems at Berkeley Jail.
As of Friday, Walker remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin with a bail of $177,500. He is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday at East County Hall of Justice.
Featured photo: Walgreens at 2190 Shattuck. Credit: Emilie Raguso