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Murdered Berkeley Man's Settlement with BPD a Bad Legacy (News Analysis)

By Ted Friedman
Friday October 25, 2013 - 02:31:00 PM

The Peter M. Cukor family's lawsuit against the city of Berkeley police was dropped unexpectedly, Tuesday, in exchange for what their attorney's called the department's "three changes…" in dispatcher policies which "will help prevent similar tragedies in the future." 

Although they were mollified by Berkeley Chief Michael K. Meehan's mea culpa, last year at a public meeting to address their fears, hills-dwellers (Cukor died atop Marin) would have to be permanently sedated to swallow this latest pill. 

Don't call 9-1-1, Hills-dwellers, but you are not safe in the police beat where you live. All the settlements in the world will not change that. You're doomed by your life-style, which offers stunning views and an above-it-all take on life below. 

Your crime beat, the largest of nineteen, stretches for miles and can only be reached, with difficulty, on narrow, often blocked streets. 

It would have taken the officer on North Shattuck--just before Cukor was murdered-- 8-10 minutes to have prevented Cukor's death, but a dispatcher reportedly diverted the officer's offer of help because of riot "monitoring" policies. 

This mistake is uncorrected in the settlement (dispatchers should consult a superior) or get better briefings before diverting officers answering a crime-in-progress. 

The settlement offers: 

"…emergency dispatchers may now inform callers that an officer will respond when a unit is available and may also add that there could be a delay due to high-priority calls in progress or due to a high volume of calls." 

All this baloney seems to answer the bogus issue of whether Cukor was allegedly emboldened to leave his home by a dispatcher's assurances of aid on-the-way. 

In fact, Cukor stepped across the street from his home to the fire-house (he had opposed its construction) for help, but the firemen were all out on a serious fire nearby. 

This could have saved his life. 

Rioters arrived at the Berkeley border from Oakland at 9:20 p.m. Cukor died fifteen minutes before the rioters arrived. There was no Berkeley march to ''monitor." This was a window of opportunity for the officer downtown to speed up to Cukor's aid. 

If police tactics had been less inflexible, Cukor could have been saved. 

I have complained of loud parties in my South Side apartment complex and gotten a cop at the door in five minutes. If you are being bludgeoned in the hills, you will have to wait longer. Much longer. 

Your Berkeley address can kill 

I live not far from the Hayward Fault. That's how we all live here, a little on-guard. 

Hills-dwellers never fully grasped the nature of police misfeasance in Cukor's case, because media was spinning on its head or possibly were out spun by police. 

A Planet story by me was headlined: "Peter M. Cukor Did Not Have To Die." 

Can I be more blunt? 

If police had actually followed the march, as they did after the Cukor fiasco on a subsequent FTP march--this one with more potential violence--they would have picked up peace vibes the night of Cukor's death. Instead they picked up a corpse. 

FTP, while befuddling cops with misleading intell, were in a celebratory not violent mood. Leaving them alone was a good move, which Chief Meehan was proud of. 

The cops then plead guilty to being prepared for a riot and attention goes there. 

The Chief capped his assuaging of hills dwellers safety fears at a north side church; a few hours later, "going viral" online by sending an armed officer to the home of a reporter to correct an error in the reporter's story. The Cukor murder was crowded out 

Too bad, because Cukor's death was a blunder worthy of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Infallible intell, according to university and city cops convinced both departments that Occupy Oakland and Occupy Cal (jointly) planned to--get this!--seize UCPD headquarters. 

UCPD taped off their entrance and stationed a few bored cops at the entrance. Action quickly shifted to University House, where twelve UCPD oversaw a celebration of peace and love unfold. 

At 11:10 p.m. BPD stink-eyed protestors from command cars. Except for a clandestine stake out, here and there, BPD had been invisible throughout the evening. 

The potential riot, cops were watching marched into town AFTER Cukor was killed. If their intell is anything but puff, Police know Occupy is no excuse for Cukor's death. 

Chief Meehan refused to blame Occupy when addressing hills-dwellers at the church briefing 

Still that idea, "they were preparing for….” 

Were police out spinning us, while claiming to be behind the media curve? 

If you believe that you believe cops are smarter than you. 


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