Updated: Berkeley Mayoral Candidate Running Wolf Jailed for Stickering a Garbage Can

By Ted Friedman
Sunday November 04, 2012 - 11:11:00 PM
Garbage can electioneering, or how to get busted?
Ted Friedman
Garbage can electioneering, or how to get busted?

Blackfeet Indian elder Zachary Running Wolf Brown, 49, a notorious Berkeley/Oakland protester with more than ninety scalps on his arrest belt, was busted last week for stickering a city-owned garbage can. 

Brown, a dark horse candidate for mayor of Berkeley, showed us his official-looking arrest document, and charged that the Berkeley Police Department had targeted him for his unrelenting campaign stumping, which in turn targeted Berkeley Police Chief, Michael K. Meehan and his department. 

Brown said his latest bust took him off the campaign hustings for days, and that an Alameda superior court judge released him on his own recognizance Thursday, saying, according to Brown, that it was "un-American" of BPD to interfere with a political candidate. 

The cops asked the D.A. for a warrant, which could have severely restricted him. According to Brown, the judge didn't go for it. 

Brown has, at six mayoral forums, called for firing the chief, and reducing the force. Brown has said that the Chief "killed that guy in the hills," and that the chief is "unpopular with the troops." 

The guy in the hills was Peter M. Cukor, 67, who was killed February 18 outside his hillside home overlooking S.F. Bay by a mentally-ill young Alamedan. 

Cukor's family filed a wrongful death suit, June 20, against the city of Berkeley for allegedly neglecting to protect Cukor after he called for police assistance. The accused murderer has been ruled incompetent to stand trial. 

According to Brown, he was handcuffed last week a full block from the garbage can displaying the offending sticker.  

"Anyone could have put it there," Brown told me. "They targeted me for my criticisms of the department," he charged. 

This will be a difficult charge to prove, according to anyone who has ever tried to prove anything in a court of law. 

We asked Sergeant Jenn Coats, BPD public information officer, whether the decisions to arrest law-breakers were by command of a superior or made at the crime scene. She wrote: 

"Berkeley Police Officers can decide to make arrests without supervision. Officers have the authority to arrest individuals if they have probable cause to believe a criminal act has been committed in their presence." 

"Occasionally, supervisors will respond to locations based on the incident. Supervisors also provide guidance, as needed by the officer. Arrest reports are later reviewed by supervisors for approval." 

Brown was arrested at Dwight Way and Fulton, near his boyhood Berkeley home. 

But who is targeting whom, as Brown takes the warpath against Berkeley police? 

Brown was back on the warpath Sunday at what seems to be the last mayoral forum, this one at a Cal student dorm. As campaign 2012 breathes its last, what's next a forum in a tea cup? 

Friday, Brown was preparing to claim his bicycle at BPD, so he could chalk-up "Oscar Grant Plaza" in front of Oakland City Hall, in what he called a "chalk-a-thon." 

He also sought the return of four-hundred half-postcard-size campaign stickers and some spray paint BPD took from him, he said. 

Brown told me he will sue BPD. 

Although Brown was not represented in court, Thursday, he has been represented as recently as two years ago by the San Francisco civil-liberties attorney, Tony Serra, or Serra's associate, Omar Figoaura. Serra represented Brown during his Memorial Stadium three-year tree-sit from 2006 to 2008. 

Brown said he had spent the better part of Wednesday and Thursday in the Berkeley jail, where he said they called him "mayor," and boasted of the bust, awaiting a hearing at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland. 

According to Running Wolf, as he is known on Berkeley's Southside, a crime scene van arrived to photograph the crime scene in a possible replay of Arlo Guthrie's bust, near Alice's Restaurant. 

Now-incumbent Mayor Tom Bates survived stealing onethousand Daily Californians which endorsed his opponent in 2002, with his election intact. 

Ted Friedman, the Voice of the South side, is scratching his head over this latest Running Wolf legend-in-the-making.