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Surveillance video shows 85-year-old woman violently attacked in Berkeley

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Berkeley police have released surveillance video showing an 85-year-old woman being violently attacked for no apparent reason.

Berkeley police are asking the public to take a look at surveillance video, in the hopes of finding the woman who brutally pushed an 85-year-old woman to the ground for no apparent reason. But as stunning as the attack appears on video, many residents say they are not at all surprised. They say the attack is just an indication of a bigger issue in the city.

A surveillance camera captured the random attack. The victim was walking with a relative at 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 23, when another woman shoved her to the ground. The victim was seriously hurt and taken to the hospital. She has since been released.

"I don't know how anybody can go and do something so awful," said Hercules resident Bill Louis.

Police have released the video to the public in the hope of finding the attacker. As people watch it, reactions are full of outrage and disgust.

"Oh I feel sick to my stomach and I feel scared," said El Cerrito resident Sim Kallan. "I mean, I just turned 65. So 85 is getting closer. And you know, you're wobbly, it changes."

One comment that consistently came up -- the number of mentally ill people wandering the streets of Berkeley. Especially in the area of where this attack happened, at Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way.

"This looks to me like an elderly person assaulted by a homeless person," Kallan said.

"There's more people on the street in this town than there used to be and I find that a lot of people really have bad mental problems," said Berkeley resident Mark Shimada.

As if to prove the point, one interview was interrupted by a man screaming profanities.

"See? Mental illness," Kallan said, reacting to the outburst.

Mayor Tom Bates says Berkeley is doing all it can to help the mentally ill. And that may be why people are drawn here.

"They come here for services," he said. "It's sort of a double edged sword. We wanna provide services, but at the same time when you do that you get more people."

He calls this attack terrible; but the exception, not the norm.

"I don't think it's getting worse," Bates said. "It's been like this for 20 years. I think it's actually getting better.

The mayor says services are stretched very thin. He does point to an ambassadorship program that puts eyes out to the streets to help keep everyone a little safer. But after seeing video of what happened to that woman, he says it looks like they'll have to redouble their efforts.

Related Topics:
seniorselderly womanviolenceattackcrimesurveillance videosurveillance cameracaught on tapecaught on camerahomelessmental healthBerkeley
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