BERKELEY (CBS SF) — A man employed as a hospitality ambassador by a Berkeley civic group was caught on camera beating a homeless man who was later arrested.

A video posted to YouTube shows two of the Berkeley ambassadors confronting a pair of homeless people behind a CVS store last Friday.

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The ambassador and the homeless man can be seen and heard arguing before the ambassador begins punching the man.

Berkeley’s Ambassador program is coordinated through the downtown association.  Their purpose is to create a more welcoming environment for residents.

“We’re very sad by this and in shock,” said Downtown Berkeley Association CEO John Caner. “They’re trained to deescalate and remove themselves from situations when this occurs. The assault on this person is egregious and unacceptable.”

Caner added that the ambassador involved in the assault will be fired, and the second ambassador who did not attempt to stop the assault will be suspended.

“I think this is an isolated incident with this individual,” Caner said.

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But a Berkeley man named David disagrees. He claims there is a culture of violence against the homeless among the city’s ambassadors.

“It’s actually been happening, like a pattern of harassment for the past five to six years,” David said.

Homeless advocates told KPIX they are not satisfied with the firing of this one ambassador — they want more changes and are staging a protest Friday afternoon.


The homeless man who was assaulted was later arrested by police based on a report by the ambassadors.  Now that video of the incident has surfaced, the district attorney’s office has been asked to take another look at the case.

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