Postal worker arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats to Berkeley resident

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Update 1/31/2019: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from LaMonte Earnest.

A Berkeley resident received an unwelcome surprise when his postal worker reportedly threw a package at his front door and proceeded to enter his residence and make criminal threats, according to a Nixle alert released by Berkeley Police Department on Tuesday afternoon.

On Saturday at 4:31 p.m., the victim was startled by the sound of something thrown at the front door of his home on the 2600 block of Sacramento Street. According to the alert, when the victim went to investigate the source of the sound, he saw a package at his door. The victim then walked over to the postal carrier, who was across the street, and asked him not to throw his packages.

The postal carrier allegedly proceeded to curse and threaten the resident, according to the alert. The victim ran back to his home and called 911 while the postal carrier allegedly entered the victim’s home and started recording him with his cellphone, all the while telling the victim that he now knew who he was.

BPD located the postal carrier, 44-year-old male Berkeley resident LaMonte Earnest, a block away and arrested him on suspicion of “making criminal threats” and for an outstanding arrest warrant for alleged animal cruelty.

According to a press release from attorney and Earnest’s wife, Kate Hallinan, Earnest is facing false accusations of criminal threats and animal cruelty.

“We have no idea about the causes of the situation,” Hallinan said. “It’s this sort of small interaction that LaMonte had with a customer that ballooned into these accusations of threats and intimidation … all of these things that have zero basis in reality.”

According to the press release, Earnest threw a package containing a heavy book on John LeBlanc’s porch Saturday afternoon. The book made a “large bang,” and LeBlanc allegedly proceeded to exit and accuse Earnest of damaging the door.

As a result of the accusations, Earnest, who denies all criminal allegations, is facing two separate criminal prosecutions and is suspended from his job without pay. This is not the first time that Earnest has faced false accusations while delivering mail, according to the press release.

The press release said Earnest’s outstanding warrant for alleged animal cruelty was the result of an incident three years ago in which a dog lunged at Earnest’s hand while he was delivering the mail. After Earnest employed his “USPS issued ‘dog repellent’,” the dog’s owner allegedly ran out of the house yelling “racially charged” statements at Earnest. According to the press release, Earnest notified police of the incident but did not hear anything about it until he was arrested Saturday.

“LaMonte has been with the postal service for a long time and takes his job really seriously,” Hallinan said. “We live in the neighborhood — this is very much our community. … This is very close to home, what’s happening right now.”

Amber Tang is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ambertang_dc.

A previous version of this article misspelled LaMonte Earnest’s last name.