Berkeley police at the Gilman overpass early Thursday morning, Sept. 3, 2020. Photo: Pete Rosos

A 51-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder after authorities say he used a metal bat to attack a younger man on Eighth Street in West Berkeley last week.

The victim pleaded with the older man to stop the beating, which was caught on video, police wrote in court papers, but the violence didn’t end until other people noticed what was happening. The man implicated in the attack has multiple violent convictions in the Bay Area dating back decades, court papers show.

Police identified the assailant as Dennis Daniels. Daniels, who is on probation, has no permanent address but officers arrested him on the sidewalk beneath the Gilman Street overpass the morning after the attack.

The beating took place Wednesday just before 8 p.m., BPD said in a prepared statement. A man in his 20s was standing near an RV on Eighth Street, mid-block between Gilman and Harrison streets, when he came into contact with Daniels, according to BPD.

The two men had a conversation, then the younger man walked over to an RV to get something, according to BPD.

It was at that point that Daniels walked up behind the younger man and struck him in the head with the metal bat, BPD said.

The younger man fell to the ground but Daniels continued to strike him “multiple times with full swings,” according to charging documents.

Police wrote that they could hear the younger man screaming for mercy, “calling Daniels by his name and begging for him to stop hitting him,” when they reviewed security camera footage of the assault.

According to BPD, Daniels hit the man 10 times on his head, back, arms and legs. A large cut in the back of his head required staples to fix. He was also assessed for a possible broken arm and cuts on his leg.

BPD said Daniels left the area when other people noticed what he was doing.

Police have not released a motive for the attack.

BPD arrested Daniels on Gilman Street on Thursday just before 8 a.m. On Friday, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged him with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and numerous criminal enhancements., according to charging documents.

Daniels has felony convictions in separate cases for robbery (2010), assault with a deadly weapon (2009) and attempted assault with a deadly weapon (2000), according to court papers. He was sent to prison after all three convictions and has two strikes, according to court papers.

Daniels, a laborer, remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail and is scheduled to enter a plea Sept. 23 at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin.

Emilie Raguso

Emilie Raguso (senior editor, news) joined the Berkeleyside team in 2012. She covers politics, public safety and development. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...

Join the Conversation

79 Comments

  1. well, maybe. two developers in the Bay just declared bankruptcy, one in El Cerrito. so there’s upside and downside.

    and if you want to look at total profits – over the last 20 years property owners (including homeowners) have made FAR more profits in the Bay than developers. same for Berkeley I’m sure.

  2. I really don’t have an issue with this. The fact that different populations vote at different frequencies is well know but that is a reason to ‘gerrymander’ as you call it, not to avoid it. We don’t weight any other district (state or national legislature) to ensure equal turnout across districts.

  3. I feel that members of commissions and the leadership of civic action groups (BPA, BDC, Sierra Club, various other Democratic clubs, the pro and anti housing groups) should also be excluded from service on the commission.

    The last thing we want is for this to be yet another locus of the Berkeley politics struggles.

  4. Why not voter district integration? We integrated our schools by moving from neighborhood districts to vertical striped districts running east/west. Maybe we should have 9 east/west stripes so each council person represents a spectrum of constituents’s needs. That would force Council members to walk the full spectrum of Berkeley neighborhoods to get elected, and better understand the needs of all Berkeley residents.

  5. Lol because door way is only requirement for ADA. Not all laws/rules are always followed. Example hope center project has broke laws/rules/regulations already.

  6. Whereas the current gerrymander makes sure to include a district seat dominated by the ‘student vote’, which I have no problem with per se; a quick look at past turnout figures shows that because of enormous differences in voter turn-out in the different districts, largest in District 5 (Sophie Hahn) to lightest in District 7 (Rigel Robinson), an individual’s vote in District 7 counts almost 3 times an individual vote in District 5. Sophie Hahn was elected with 5,810 votes out of a total 9,305 cast, whilst Rigel Robinson only received a mere 1,580 votes out of a total of 2,795 cast. In fact Rigel Robinson got less votes than most of the second placed candidates in the other districts, but he still gets to sit on the City Council making laws for the whole of the city. Hopefully the new gerrymandering team will take this enormous discrepancy into account when considering the geography and demographics of the voting districts going forward for the next ten years.
    I’d like to see a City Council that more closely reflects the opinions and aspirations of all the city’s residents.
    https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Elections/Election__Election_Results_Archive.aspx

  7. Whaaaaaaaaattttt?
    It’s racism to arrest someone who is attempting to bludgeon another person to death with a baseball bat?

    And then you close with “Peace”.

    Man…..

  8. That Utah article is amazing. So many people cite the SLC success story, but it’s evidently not at all the truth on the ground. Sobering.

  9. Yes, what Droste really means is what I call Telecompassion. Love your fellow man, but with the curvature of the earth between you.

  10. Tell your friend he is working for neither of the two.

    He’s working for homeless services providers all day, every day.

  11. They cherry pick clients and produce no performance metrics. It does feed millions to the homeless industrial complex “non profits.”

  12. We tried to enact laws about how much you can have on the sidewalk. Our dear Mayor blocked or thwarted those even when he was a council member for the district most impacted.

  13. We are dealing with a service resistant population. If they wanted significant support, they would have accepted it already.

  14. The ADA requires doorways at least 32″ wide even though there’s some large people wider than that. These small units comply with the ADA even if they aren’t big enough for absolutely everyone.

  15. Cites and areas naturally urbanize and grow taller unless restricted from doing so. Downtown SF and downtown Oakland didn’t always have tall buildings. Downtown Berkeley wasn’t always as tall as today. Over time it and all those cities grew taller. Tokyo isn’t a leftist social experiment but it also has tall buildings that gradually get shorter moving further away. You say
    Berkeley is a small town with limited space and infrastructure, but then how could it possibly have the downtown buildings it actually has? Somehow it grew upwards, and it could grow further upwards.

  16. Gavin Newsome said today that 90, or maybe it was 95 percent of CA fires are human-caused. (He actually said “man made” but we’ll let that go.) Not the same at all as arson, but leaves plenty of scope for arson to be a significant factor.

  17. We all know how this will go. He pleads not guilty and the DA offers a deal for misdemeanor assault to avoid a trial and third strike to score political points in the war against mass incarceration of black men.

  18. yes, unusual for you. Don’t you know that all criminals have mental health issues? You have to in order to behave that way…

  19. There are square footage taxes that stay in Berkeley, which have nothing to do with assessed value, just dwelling size. (library, parks, schools, lights, fire, paramedic). Oakland doesn’t tax per square foot. Berkeley does.
    When you talk assessed value, you refer to tax money that goes to the state (and gets divvied up to some extent for police, schools, homeless, etc.). Local bond payments are also calculated on assessed value. So, your theory about condos netting 10x the tax revenue for the City, even if it were possible to sell condos on BART property, is off the mark.
    By the way, since we are on the topic of inequitable taxes, I hope you or your 95 year old neighbor doesn’t pay for an unfinished understory. Some unlucky homeowners do and this scheme can increase the homeowners square footage tax greatly, and unfairly, especially since MANY basements in the city are not taxed!

  20. I agree. Every example of roundabouts in Berkeley is plagued with problems.

    Some well-timed stoplights would have solved the problem. Not sure why that wasn’t considered.

  21. These are the kinds of people that Mayor Jesse Arreguin has brought to our city with his disastrous attempts to address the homelessness epidemic. 80+ fires in homeless encampments, dramatic increases in quality of life crimes, and literally tons of trash dumped in our public spaces.

    Isn’t it time for a change?

  22. What is the actual law that allows for this. I see several posts suggesting it is legal but have yet to find the actual code.

  23. “triggers the necessity of providing other housing for the inhabitants under Martin v Boise.”

    The ruling did not say anything about protecting the right of refusing housing that meets federal and state housing standards. The court didn’t say that transients who reject shelter space with the pretext that it “does not work for them” (because it has a rules against drug use) gives them an unlimited right to take over public spaces.

  24. Who is leading and funding the project?
    The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is the Federal and State lead agency for environmental compliance. The Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) is the implementing agency, and is working cooperatively with the cities of Berkeley and Albany to deliver the project. The primary funding sources of the project are State funds and Measure BB, the 2014 voter-approved extension of the transportation sales tax.
    https://www.alamedactc.org/programs-projects/highway-improvement/i80gilman/

  25. Really? Have you talked to Todd Andrew? His grasp of the problems and his way of expressing them so thoughtfully and with compassion left me pondering why in Berkeley we elect the opposite of that.

  26. It has been a disaster. If they had followed the advice of the French consultants and run it down I-5, it might have worked out.

  27. 3 square meals, bed, water, toilet and roof over his head for the rest of his third strike. He may actually be happier…..more content to be on a regular schedule

  28. Yes, he is clearly a ‘broken’ human and needs compassionate care. But, in the meantime, he needs to be confined so he doesn’t break more innocent people with metal bats and other types of weapons.

    An all too familiar story:
    “The man implicated in the attack has multiple violent convictions in the Bay Area dating back decades, court papers show.”

  29. Sounds like loser talk to me. People like Jesse will do an about face and march the other way if they feel the political winds begin to change. It’s up to us to make him see that the winds are a changin’

  30. If there were an empty continent where people could be sent away to but be free there, he would qualify.

    That continent does not exist. So he must be kept away from the rest of us.

  31. I will not stop fuming about the billions wasted on HSR for the purpose of scurrying Suits between Sacto-SF-LA. My fellow voters swallowed the bilge fed them in 2008. Shame. Shame. Shame.

  32. Jesse’s rent controlled home? I think he wouldnt want to jeopardize his subsidized rent. Oh wait, there is literally nothing he could do to get evicted short of kill someone and even then…

  33. This is true. I had a tweaker tenant who at 54 had spent 14 years in prison in five states. Never worked, no skills, permanent SSI because she was, well, a tweaker. God himself couldn’t have rehabbed her. Meth is the kiss of death.

  34. I guess there is a big legal difference between cleaning up the camps and removing them. “Removal,” I would think, triggers the necessity of providing other housing for the inhabitants under Martin v Boise. Thanks for the comment.

  35. On my bike ride yesterday I noticed that there is some sort of floating (sewage?) catchment system on the Bay side of the tidal tubes. Anyone know what that is about?

  36. …and will end up being a traffic nightmare. A couple of stoplights at an intersection or two would stop traffic long enough for cross traffic to enter the flow onto Gilman.

  37. The state is not going to mandate that Orinda or Piedmont accept any homeless, let alone their proportional share. I think that the homeless love their mini cities like Seabreeze and Peoples Park. There’s a dynamic in those areas that attracts more and more to the mini cities

  38. So many creative, talented, hard-working people struggling to keep their businesses going while offering to help others. I consider it a privilege to be living in the same area as them and hope the governor allows workplaces to reopen soon. Otherwise, I fear we’re going to lose dozens more small businesses forever and dash the dreams of those who put their all into creating them.

  39. This is racism, plain and simple. Just a few years ago, privileged white boy Eric Clanton went on a genocidal rampage here in Berkeley, targeting and striking seven people on their skulls with a heavy-duty bike lock, with three of those attacks caught on video. He was set free the morning his trial was supposed to start. Not a single day in prison. But when a black man tries to kill just one person, he is arrested.

    No Justice, No Peace!

    Peace.

  40. I thought we approved the funding two or three years ago! Who do we need to consult to find out exactly what the status of this project is? Didn’t we learn that plans were approved to construct two roundabouts? Then what happened?

  41. I’m not seeing anything in this report to indicate that he’s any more “broken” that many of us and especially many who are living under the freeway. He’s obviously been a danger to society for years, but we, as a people, have decided not to remove people like him from general circulation.

  42. COB Environmental Health Department: 2180 Milvia Street, 2nd Floor Berkeley, CA 94704, Berkeley, CA 94704
    TEL: (510) 981-5310, TDD: (510) 981-6903, FAX: (510) 981-5305
    Office Hours: Mon-Fri,8:00-12 p.m + 1-4 p.m., Inspector’s: 8:00-9:30 a.m., Email: envhealth@cityofberkeley.info
    Obtain residence/street address where leaf blower is being used, license plate number of the offending gardener(s) motor vehicle(s), date and time of Gasoline Leaf Blower use at address. Telephone Dept of Environmental Health to report use of such. They will send a letter to homeowner and gardener(s) informing them of current COB gasoline leaf blower prohibition.

  43. We should provide shelter for “our proportional share” of the California homeless (about 400) and urge others to do the same. It should be a state mandate. Then we should enforce the prohibition on permanent camping and also enforce against anti-social behavior including the petty crimes we now ignore. Most importantly we should reconstitute the drug task force to prevent the self-destruction that we currently enable.

  44. Doubling our taxes will not address the medical and other problems of the people in this camp and the additional homeless who will be attracted to Berkeley in the future. The relapse rate for meth is 70 – 80% and it destroys the brains of the addicts. No amount of medical intervention is going to restore these people to normal functioning. We’re enabling the creation of permanent customers for our Health Department.

  45. Don’t worry so much about the district borders, just focus on getting Davila out! Knowing this city they will try to make the districts not neighborhood based, but more along the lines of the way BUSD draws them.

  46. There could be rules about how much stuff you can have on any public property. I assume you have seen the trash heaps. And there are a lot of different reasons why people are homeless. Some people are homeless simply because they were unable to make rent; others are people suffering from mental illness or drug addictions, for example.

  47. I have no idea. Jesse is incompetent. Wayne doesn’t see the value in our commercial and industrial land, or that market-rate (not just “affordable”) housing has to be part of the solution to our housing issues. Maybe he could be teachable on those issues…

  48. Thanks B-Side. Feels just so…strange lately.

    The COVID, the upcoming election, the fires, so many people out of work. And it’s only September. Grateful for BerkeleySide for keeping us so well informed.

  49. This is probably the same ‘man’ who assaulted a dear previously-homeless friend numerous times from ‘2009-17. Mike has never got justice from any of our protectors, and also has a stapled scalp. I must agree with Lew Zerman that this will continue ..

  50. Yes, odd day. I woke up, and not only was it nice and cool, but the sky looked like some sci-fi movie; bizarre orange light streamed through my windows. Yet, I did not smell smoke. Almost apocalyptic.

  51. The encampments near the freeway are pretty terrible–I don’t see how any of the residents there could be living in a healthy or safe way. I live in w berkeley and it seems really clear to me that many of the people living there are severely mentally ill or drug addicted. I wonder if a separate camp is really going to help those folks, or end up as a boondogle. I fully support adding more shelter beds and building up significant support for the unhoused who are mentally competent (and I know there are many) but it seems pretty obvious that conclusively addressing the problem of the West Berkeley encampment will take significant medical and legal intervention.

  52. Interesting list of those “not eligible.” I wonder if “current Berkeley commission or Board members” were considered.

  53. Exactly.

    The Mayor and all of the city council members should be issued tents and made to live for one week at the University/80 drug camp. Once you know what actually transpires there, you may make better decisions for the working people of Berkeley.

    To the Mayor:
    Stop listening to the maniacs who have the time to show up at council meetings and try to convince you and the council you are doing the WRONG thing by enforcing simple laws that are meant to protect the health and safety of the people you supposedly represent.

  54. I am torn on this one. Usually, the ridiculous criminals we see here on Berkeleyside deserve the Slammer, Big-Time.

    But this guy….I feel sorry for him. ( go ahead and downvote me, yes, I deserve it! )

    He is clearly disturbed, probably a fairly broken human. Yes, violent, yes, repeat criminal, yes yes yes. But he still seems like a broken person.

    So I don’t know. Obviously, he needs to be removed from society in some fashion, as he is a dangerous person. But regarding his ‘culpability’….I’ll bet he has major psychological problems. I feel bad for him.

  55. Gee, multiple convictions for bodily harm. Out on probation. Get him an RV and let’s give him some matches.

  56. Rents may have dropped on vacant apartments, but they haven’t dropped for occupied ones. Current vacancy in my building rents for less than I paid when I moved in 2 years ago. Rent board says they can do that, but I’m SOL.

  57. Construction was supposed to start in 2019 and end in 2022… but clearly that timeline is blown.
    https://berkeleyside-newspack.newspackstaging.com/2018/02/08/gilman-roundabout-plans-take-another-step-forward

    But it looks like funding was approved in August: https://berkeleyside-newspack.newspackstaging.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/1381000_I80_GilmanIC_FS_20200903.pdf

    Construction is supposed to begin late this year and be done in 2023.

    It’s a $63 million project.