Welcome to the Berkeley Public Library



Another day at the Berkeley Public Library.

The guy sitting at the computer directly across from me — who happened to be African-America — just got into some kind of disagreement with this middle-aged woman — who happened to be white. The argument escalated to the point where the guy was shouting threats at the woman. Then this other guy jumped into the middle of it — allegedly as peacemaker — which only escalated it further. The guy throws several punches at the guy in the middle. Before a big scrum of people stepped in and separated the combatants.

A security guard shows up, and then two cops and they try to sort out the whole mess.

“This man assaulted me!!” said the one guy.

“I was just sitting at my computer minding my own business and this woman wouldn’t stop bothering me!!” said the other guy. He goes back and sits down at his computer.

“You have to go outside and we can talk this over out there,” says the cop numerous times, calmly but firmly. But the guy refuses to leave, maintaining his innocence. Then it starts to get physical. “GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!!” he shouts, brushing off the cops arm. Then he’s standing up and they’re trying to handcuff him, but he’s resisting, stiffening like a board. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there about 5 feet across from them, waiting for all hell to break loose and the table to get over-turned and come crashing down.

But somehow they manage to handcuff him and haul him towards the stairs, while he shouts “WHITE PRIVILEGE!! WHITE PRIVILEGE!!” over and over, the entire time he’s being escorted out of the building.

And as usual with these things, you don’t even know what the fight was about, let alone who’s to blame.

But on a nicer note, Patricia, one of my FB friends, spotted me at the library earlier and stopped by to say hi.


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