Berkeley City College alleges former student harassed employee in restraining order

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Students pass Berkeley City College in downtown Berkeley. The college's financial aid computers are down, so students get their aid packages. Tim Maloney/photo

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Berkeley City College, or BCC, filed a workplace violence restraining order Thursday against a former student on allegations of harassment.

According to the order, BCC seeks to protect an employee, Dean of Student Support Services Brenda Johnson, against the respondent and former BCC student, Richard Douglas Johnson. The order alleged that Douglas Johnson had stalked or made threats of violence against the employee.

“I am in fear for my safety at the workplace and support BCC’s petition for workplace violence restraining orders against Respondent,” Brenda Johnson said in her statement in the order.

Neither Brenda Johnson nor Douglas Johnson could be reached for comment as of press time.

When Douglas Johnson was a student at BCC in 2012, he was involved in disciplinary action for allegedly violating the student conduct code, according to the order. His alleged actions resulted in his suspension from the college, which restricted him from registering for or attending classes. Brenda Johnson was involved in informing the respondent of his suspension.

On Sept. 13, Douglas Johnson came to BCC and asked Gail Pendleton, a staff administrator, if Brenda Johnson was in her office, according to the order. Pendleton told the respondent that he needed an appointment. The order alleged that Douglas Johnson told Pendleton that if he has “anything to do with it, (Brenda Johnson) won’t be here too long.”

In her declaration in the order, Brenda Johnson alleged that the respondent had used threatening language with regard to his disciplinary actions. According to the order, Brenda Johnson was fearful of the respondent’s presence and called BCC security to escort her to the vice president of student services’s office on the second floor.

As Brenda Johnson and security approached the elevator, the respondent allegedly physically blocked the elevator and began to shout vulgarities, Brenda Johnson said in her statement. The order alleged that he made threatening statements, such as that he was going to “get” Brenda Johnson and “take care” of her because of her involvement in BCC’s disciplinary action against him.

The order alleged that based on Douglas Johnson’s actions, BCC feared he would “be more persistent in entering campus and attempting contact with Dean Johnson.” Berkeley Police Department was notified of the incident the following day and facilitated the issuance of a “No Trespass letter,” authorizing BPD to remove or arrest Douglas Johnson for trespassing if he entered BCC property.

The respondent allegedly returned to BCC on Sept. 16, though he had already been informed by BPD of BCC’s “no trespass” order against him, the order said.

The order stated that BCC President Rowena Tomaneng informed Brenda Johnson on Oct. 10 that the respondent had left two voicemails in which he allegedly “made credible threats of violence” against Brenda Johnson. In her declaration, Brenda Johnson alleged that the respondent said in his voicemail that BCC “needs to reign that woman in and get her the fuck off campus or, starting next week, I will do it for you.”

BCC asks that the order require that Douglas Johnson stay at least 100 yards away from BCC, Brenda Johnson and her vehicle and residence. BCC also requests that the order require the respondent not to “harass, intimidate, stalk, threaten, assault, or otherwise disturb the peace of Dean Johnson” or contact her by any means.

“Due to Respondent’s stalking, assaults, and threats of violence against Dean Johnson, she and BCC fear for her safety at the workplace and seek a restraining order against Respondent,” the order alleged.

Contact Rishabh Nijhawan at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @realRishNij.