Tree-sitter falls from tree, protest ends

Protester Moonshato sits in a tree in People's Park.
Fikre-Selam Habebo/Staff
Protester Moonshato sits in a tree in People's Park.

The People’s Park tree-sit that began just over a week ago came to an end early Tuesday morning after one of the protesters fell out of the tree and had to be rushed to the hospital.

A 19-year-old female fell out of the tree at about 4 a.m, sustaining major injuries and effectively bringing the demonstration to an end. Officers from UCPD and the Berkeley Police Department arrived at the scene at about 4:37 a.m., according to UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode, spokesperson for the department. Police have not confirmed the extent of the tree-sitter’s injuries, though various residents of the park claim she broke her back during the fall.

According to local activist Zachary RunningWolf — who has organized several tree-sits in the park — the 19-year-old female, whom he called Amy, fell out of the tree after accidentally rolling over in her sleep. RunningWolf said that while it is customary for tree-sitters to be tied into the tree while they sleep, Amy was not tied in at the time of the fall.

The tree-sit began Aug. 28 when sometimes Berkeley resident Moonshato climbed up into a tree in the park near the intersection of Bowditch and Haste streets to protest proposed changes to the park and raise awareness about Berkeley’s poor and homeless communities.

According to RunningWolf, Amy joined Moonshato in the tree sometime last week, and the two were joined by a third protestor a few days later.

Though police were unable to say whether Napa resident Brandon Smith was the third tree-sitter, UCPD officers saw Smith coming out of the tree at about 6:20 a.m. Tuesday and then arrested him on an outstanding felony warrant from Napa County for grand theft, according to DeCoulode. Smith was taken to Berkeley Police Department Jail.

DeCoulode said no other tree-sitters have been arrested but that police are investigating the involvement of a man who was seen walking with Smith. DeCoulode could not confirm whether the man was Moonshato.

RunningWolf said Moonshato left the tree either Friday or Saturday.

RunningWolf said that despite the protest’s tragic ending, the demonstration was still a success.

“We brought to light to basically the issues we were concerned with,” he said. “Poverty’s not a crime.”

Sarah Burns is the lead crime reporter.

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  • Anonymous

         This  controversy has not ended. The young woman who fell out of the tree, Amy Delatorre, emailed and explained she sustained a broken back and other severe injuries as a result of her fall. She also stated the reason for her fall was the fact the University police had shined high beam flashlights in her eyes preventing her from sleeping and causing her to fall. Sleep deprivation is torture under the Geneva convention.

          Amy has retained an attorney and is prepared to sue the University for the injurites she sustained in the fall as well as for the harassment she received at the hospital by University police which aggravated her injuries. In addition, the University and its police department are under criminal and civil rights investigations for the criminal acts of their agents, the police, in causing Amy’s injuries as well as the violation of her civil rights.

         In addition, TBID, the Telegraph Business Improvement District, is civilly liable for Amy’s injuries because the reason Amy and Moonshato went up in the tree was to protest a letter written by TBID’s President, Craig Becker and signed by its Executive Director, Roland Peterson, asking the University to get rid of the disabled, senior citizens, veterans and homeless who go to the Park on a daily basis. Craig Becker is the owner of the Cafe Mediterraneum on Telegraph Avenue.

           It was entirely foreseeable the writing of the TBID letter would lead to a tree protest and the young adults who participated would be injured because similar injuries were sustained by another tree sitter 6 months prior. In that situation the University police were also involved as the University sent them to get rid of the tree sitter. TBID knew this history when they wrote the letter in September, 2011 and are on the hook for any and all injuries caused by their negligence.   

  • (A)

    I wish that the daily Cal would do a little bit more investigation into this story, then they would find out that Amy’s injuries were a direct result of UC Berkeley PD  harassment, they kept her up for 4 days straight using high powered flashlights that they would shine in the sitters faces every two hours. She became weak and she passed out while trying to climb to another branch. Sounds like Guantanomo bay kind of. Using torture practices on tree sitters sounds pretty criminal to me. Fairly less criminal then peaceful direct action protests.

  • What happened to free speech?

    deleting people’s comments that you dont agree with is wrong, nice one Daily Cal

  • sweetheart

    What the hell is wrong with you people, a girl was injured for fighting for something she believes in have a heart.

  • Someone with some Empathy

    You are all sick in the fucking head, why don’t you take your yuppie trust fund ass to somewhere where it’ll be appreciated like some Suburb wastedump. Seriously.if you can’t handle Berkeley then obviously, you shouldn’t live here. If you got out of self absorbed pretentious boxes and talked to someof the people at People’s Park you would realize that a lot of them are verty nice people. Furthermore, I met Amy during the demonstration and her friends, she is a very sweet and intelligent young woman. Who has a good head on her shoulders, the same thing with her two friends.  They are all very nice kids who want to see a change in the world. At least there doing something, what do you do sit in front of the computer all day?  You  must be the ones with the mental illness if you think its funny that she got hurt. She suffered police harassment in the hospital as well from UC Berkeley police, stuff that would be considered illegal and wrong. Wake the fuck up.

  • 19devils51

    They act like People’s Park is the only vagrant park in California. They have other choices, but they like the chaos, anarchy and companionship with other idiots. When this first started in 1970, I thought, of all the places on earth, they chose to make another wino park near the campus and contrast the worst against the best, and tear up the neighborhood.

  • I dislike Berkeley and Albany

    Peoples Park as the 60’s hippies named it should had been black topped over in the 60’s as U.C. Berkeley wanted for more student parking. 
    A pot growing/ vegetable garden was just plain foolish………….we need to reopen Napa State Hospital and all the other mental institutions, they can all live there  and get daily free medical care paid by the tax payers. 

  • I dislike Berkeley and Albany

    Is this for real ? Why even print this stupid article, who cares if some stoned idiot falls out of a tree……….we the working public and tax payers have to pay for this crap.

  • Sadf


    • Lovegior

      What a sad little piece of shit, you think its funny that a girl got hurt stick your trust fund up you ass and go live back with your parents. Berkeley was a place of protest and resistance and you new kids going to Berkeley make me sick, sick ,sick.

  • DFH

    Let’s just move PP somewhere that’s safer for everybody .. like, maybe a grassy hilltop in the Amador valley.  

    • I was thinking of a nice warm patch of sand about 100 miles east of Barstow…

  • Sherman

    Running Wolf, you idiot — this is YOUR fault.  That woman is YOUR responsibility.

  • Godknows

    Peaceful protesters who ask  nothing for themselves, should be unquestionably protected but unfortunately it seems they only protect those that create mayhem, taunt, ridicule and humiliate anyone who has difference of opinion.
    We property owning, employers, tax paying, voting citizens and residents are praying for Amy and her family,  and we will also pray for her detractors, because they do not know any better.

    • Sherman

      We know better, GK — we’re just tired of Running Wolf and his lies.  According to him, the entire city of Berkeley is on sacred grounds.  These naive fragile kids come to Berkeley expecting a paradise where they can do what ever, smoke what ever, and swallow what ever and not face consequences.  It’s not a difference of opinion — it’s a constant disruption of life, it’s a park where crime dwells and students are afraid to go through, and it’s costing society and the University far too much money to deal with these fools.  They can have their opinions — shut it to the skies —- but stop illegal activity that costs society money that can be better spent elsewhere.    I pray that the other fools will see Amy’s injuries and get it in their heads that they need to stop being parasites on society and deal with their issues.

      • Oscar

        Do you have any actual numbers on this “far too much money” people’s park supposedly Berkeley?  I suspect it would be negligible compared to all those new high-rises they built on University Ave, or the Administrations inflated six-figure salaries.

        Additionally, is it really a “constant disruption of life”?  Don’t you think that you’re overreacting a little bit?  I’ve never heard of a student actually being acosted in the park, as you see to imply is a constant problem.  

        If you’re afraid of people’s park, walk around it; virtually all of Berkeley is sqeaky-clean and perfectly safe.

        What a small world you must live in, that a bunch of bums and losers in a small unsanitized space can get you so worked up.  

        • [Do you have any actual numbers on this “far too much money” people’s
          park supposedly Berkeley?  I suspect it would be negligible compared to
          all those new high-rises they built on University Ave]

          The people paying for those high-rises on University Avenue (or anywhere else) are developers who will then sell, rent, or lease them out to occupants who will pay for them in turn. The hobos, druggies, and hippie holdovers camped out in PP Park aren’t paying a damn thing for the privilege of squatting on some rather pricey real estate. Time for them to move on to cheaper digs…

    • [Peaceful protesters who ask  nothing for themselves, should be
      unquestionably protected but unfortunately it seems they only protect
      those that create mayhem, taunt, ridicule and humiliate anyone who has
      difference of opinion.]

      There’s a difference between exercising your First Amendment rights in a civilized manner and making a total @ss of yourselves. These tree-sitters are simply attention-starved narcissists who deserve all the derision and ridicule they get.

  • Birge

    When are these morons going to open their eyes and notice that they’re the ones falling out of trees and getting severely injured, while their “leader” like Running Wolf are safely on the ground mugging for the television cameras?

    You are being exploited.

    • Most of these protesters are too stupid to notice little details like that. They aren’t much better than the fruitcake Muslim militants who strap bombs to their chests because some fat imam somewhere issued a fatwa for somebody’s death. Every wacko religion/cult, INCLUDING the so-called “environmental” movement, needs its share of true believers as cannon fodder to be sacrificed in the name of the movement…

  • Divensurf

    The karma of hanging the U.S. flag upside down.

  • According to local activist Zachary RunningWolf

  • KarmaIsaBitch

    hahahahahahaha, he deserved it!11111

    • John Holland

      if you’re going to take pleasure in someone else’s severe injury, at least read far enough to notice it was a “she” not a “he”.

      • DFH

        they sound the same when the hit the ground, so wtf…

  • Eddage

    People’s Park has long lost its reputation as a symbol of social justice.  It’s now known as a crime-ridden cesspool.   It’s time for a long overdue overhaul and development.

    • Racismisawesome

      Where the fuck are these people, nearly all of whom are suffering from drug addiction, physical illness preventing them from working, and mental illness, supposed to live if you get rid of the park?  Isn’t it “productive” to have a relatively safe and inexpensive place for them to live, hang out, connect with other people?  You really think it’s “worth it” to keep the park if it’s a symbol for something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but when now it’s filled with dirty people who repulse your judgmental ass, suddenly it’s worth worth keeping the space?

      • Racismisawesome

        *not worth.

      • Tom

        “safe and inexpensive place for them to live”

        They aren’t paying for it.

      • Seer of Things

        They can stay in shelters, as long as they don’t insist on bringing drugs and drink in with them. 

        And frankly, I don’t give a shit if they’re dirty.  But theft, mugging and drug-dealing are rampant in Southside, and clearing the park of squatters will go a long way toward solving that problem.

        • Oscar

          Theft, mugging and crime are RAMPANT?  Seriously?  Where did you come from?  

          The Southside is as safe as anybody can expect to be in an urban setting.  Go back to the suburbs if you’re worried about it.  

          • You seem to have a problem with the suburbs. I gather it’s because places like Fremont and Hayward don’t see it necessary to create a bum-friendly environment so that druggies, alkies, and derelicts can harrass decent citizens on a daily basis, right?

          • Pturtleback

            Yeah – SERIOUSLY dick head. Ive been nearly mugged and there TWICE, not to mention offered drugs ALL the time.

            That place is garbage and worthless people have taken it over.  I’ve lived in NY and LA and Telegraph is definitely more dangerous. 

      • Eddage

        Where did I say it was “worth it ” to keep the park?  Just the opposite – I want the park to be made better with some development.  

        • Oscar

          Looking at your handle makes me think you’re a troll…  But even if you aren’t the idea that development makes everything better is a very classist position.  

          Development makes things “better” for those with adequate resources to enjoy the privately-owned and capital-intensive space it creates.  However, for the majority of America who live below the poverty line, development usually means an increase in cost-of-living and further exclusion from diminished public space.  

          What are the chances your development would be inclusionary and accessible to lower-income members of the Berkeley community?  Perhaps you should just come out and say that you think we should purge the poor from your gated fiefdoms.

          • [What are the chances your development would be inclusionary and accessible to lower-income members of the Berkeley community?]

            Why does any development need to be “inclusionary and accessible” to drug addicts and transients? Just because you are so in love with these losers and parasites doesn’t mean that students, families with children, and yes, decent working people on the lower end of the economic spectrum want to associate with them either…

      • [Where the fuck are these people, nearly all of whom are suffering from
        drug addiction, physical illness preventing them from working, and
        mental illness, supposed to live if you get rid of the park?]

        As another poster pointed out, they can seek shelter/treatment in an environment where they do not have free access to street drugs and alcohol, and have to CONFORM to the rules set by the establishments providing such shelter and treatment. Of course, this is what offends you fruitcake lefties the most. You defend the right of the most maladjusted, dysfunctional elements of society to live a life free of ANY responsibility or accountability, to their OWN detriment, in pursuit of your totally insane, irrational, and UNWORKABLE view of how the world should run. Time to kick the bums out and do something useful with the property for a change…

        • Hafsol

          How should the world be run, then?  I don’t doubt that your vision is entirely sane, rational, and workable, Tony M… You must be an incredibly adjusted, functional element of society who lives a life full of very much responsibility and accountability, to your own benefit and to that of the entire planet. You conformed to “the rules set by the establishments.” Good for you. 

          • [How should the world be run, then?]

            Very simply. You want help, you accept the condition placed by those willing to provide that help. With rights come responsibilities. You have no right to make others miserable just because you can’t get your own shit together…

          • [You conformed to “the rules set by the establishments.”]

            Ah, yes, the typical world view of the emotionally disturbed far left. Some racist, sexist, homophobic and patriarchal “establishment” arbitrarily sets rules, and you rebel against those rules. Since you can’t fathom now certain rules and customs must have evolved over centuries of human civilization, you think you can just as arbitrarily change those rules as you see fit. Hint for the silly child here: many rules regarding how people behave within a community evolved as people saw what worked and what did not. Clearly allowing a bunch of shiftless, inebriated/intoxicated, disturbed individuals license to run amuck is seen by most sane, rational people as a bad idea. The parasites who have infested Berkeley for way too long have been enabled by people who hold their romanticized mascot groups to one standard, and everyone else to another. When civilized, productive and responsible human beings are punished in the name of helping such derelicts, something is seriously wrong. There’s a reason why 98% of the rest of the country thinks that Berkeley is full of nutcakes, even if you don’t have a clue yourself.

        • I don’t disagree, Tony, but what do you do with the people who are too crazy to seek help?

          Having someone committed against their will is extremely difficult, and some of the street people around here are too loopy to understand that they need help.

      • DFH

        Where?  Well we’ve been the destination city for every runaway punk and drop-out hippie hold-out for way too long (along with SF).  Time to pass the baton .. I vote Orange county needs to take a turn.

        • Except the people in OC are too smart to play that game. They let the goo-goos in Santa Monica pick up the burden…

  • Arthur

    too bad nobody fell out of that tree by the stadium, that would have been fun to watch.

  • Guest

    It’s well past time to put this land to more productive use.  For all the challenges in this city, we can’t afford to pander to these turds any more.  

  • Worker

    “poverty is not a crime”

    OK. But “trespassing in a tree for days” is. And “demanding others pay for your medical care after getting hurt in a protest” should be.

    With millions spent on homeless in Berkeley, Amy chose to live in that tree. There’s something terribly wrong with Berkeley’s homeless and those like Running Wolf who exploit them.

  • Something tells me that little Amy fell out of her tree long before she ever made it to Berkeley…

    • DFH

      Shaved, de-loused and a fit for a body cast.