Read a PDF of our statement here.

LDF Files Records Request for Information on Man’s Attack of Black Middle School Student in Berkeley, California

In March, a white motorist allegedly assaulted a 12-year-old Black middle school student while attempting to execute a citizen’s arrest in Berkeley, California. According to the Berkeley Police Department (BPD), the motorist misinterpreted horseplay between the boy and a white, female classmate as assault. However, many in the Berkeley community believe this incident is one in a long line of incidents gaining attention nationwide in which white people are policing African Americans engaged in lawful behavior. Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed a records request to gather information on the incident and the BPD response.

In particular, LDF requested:

  • All materials – including police reports, audio and/or transcripts of 911 calls, and videos – related to the incident; and  
  • All documents related to citizen arrests made in the BPD’s jurisdiction from January 1, 2016 until today, including the race/ethnicity of the citizen making the arrest, the race/ethnicity of the person arrested, the reason for the arrest, and whether charges were filed against the arrestee.

As LDF’s request notes, “It is within the public’s interest to ensure that children and youth may engage in play and attend school without being subjected to attacks by overzealous citizens turned crimefighters.”

Read the records request here.


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.