Multiple Accounts Emerge in the Attacks on Two Davis Police Officers

Davis Police Car

The scene described by Davis Police paints a picture where police officers, driving an unmarked police vehicle near College Park and Russell, encountered a large group of people in the roadway and blocking traffic.

In the police account, the police pulled near a group to take action but, before they could act, the unmarked police vehicle was surrounded by a large hostile group and several subjects began to yell threats at the police officers in the car. One subject quickly moved to simulate pulling a gun on the officers. As the officers exited the car and began to identify themselves as the police, two officers were immediately physically attacked by multiple suspects and beaten on the ground.

However, there is another version of the event that occurred.  Isabel Lynch, a Sacramento resident and student at Sierra College in Rocklin, said she did not know the people involved but had met them that day.

She was waiting with other people to cross on the edge of a sidewalk when she said a van came and nearly hit them.  At this point a passenger in the van opened the door and began waving at the crowd.

At this point, the people were unaware that the people in the van were police officers, and she explained that the driver of the van “laid on the horn and was yelling out the window, ‘Get the f— off the street,’ ”

At this point people in the crowd and officers yelled obscenities, and fighting broke out.

“I did see one of the officers on the ground, and I saw one girl kicking one of the officers,” she said.

“A lot of it didn’t make sense,” she said. “I think they (police) were just reacting, and they reacted poorly.”

She estimated ten people were involved in fighting with the officers, but at this point only three have been arrested – although police believe there will be additional arrests.

According to the police, the three arrested were from out of the area and are not UC Davis students.

Alexander Reide Craver, 22, and Elijah James Williams, 19, both of West Sacramento, as well as Antwoine Rashadek Perry, 21, of Elk Grove, were arrested on Saturday.

In a later statement from Police Chief Pytel, the Vanguard was told that they have “received video now which shows what happened from the beginning and corroborates the officers statements, including that one of the arrestees lifted up his shirt like he was going to pull a gun. As this was happening the officer got out of his car and went to grab him and was immediately hit in the back of the head and then hit several times, taken to the ground and kicked several times in the head.”

He explained, “The officer did fight back. The other two officers got out of the car and were almost immediately in the scuffle trying to keep the one officer from being attacked.”

The police have not responded to a Vanguard request to view the video.  But again, based on the video, the police believe their version of events to be corroborated and that the attack on their officers, who have not been publicly named as of yet, was unwarranted and illegal.

If the entire event was captured on body cameras or other video, the police should release that video to the public.

—David M. Greenwald reporting



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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9 thoughts on “Multiple Accounts Emerge in the Attacks on Two Davis Police Officers”

  1. Todd Edelman

    How long ago was the request made to see the video? The DPD’s press release about the situation is used nearly verbatim in multiple media outlets, then by approximately the early afternoon on Tuesday April 25 they say have video about it which backs up their account.

    But we also need to ask why UC Davis and the City creates, enables and allows thousands or people to drive in to Campus and and the Downtown area and park for free, but charges for the bus to pay for extra police. Are these officers on the buses? Or are bus riders subsidizing driving, by paying for the control of traffic and free parking-induced crowds that the police demand?

    What has the University and City done differently in the past in regards to how people get to Picnic Day? It seems to me that this situation we’re discussing would have been have less likely to have happened if there was much less of a free-for-all in how people move about to and in the City and Campus for this important event.

  2. John Hobbs

    I didn’t see the event in question, but have commented here before on the unprofessional and impertinent language and behavior used by our police in these encounters. In any other western country, of which I’m aware, such behavior by officers is not tolerated. When one begins an encounter with threats and epithets, it does nothing to defuse the situation.

    1. Howard P

      Don’t disagree in concept… in the instant situation, in the report above, I’m skeptical about accounts as to what language was or wasn’t used… I draw no conclusions on that…

      But am pretty sure, that if you called me a M-f’er, in front of my wife and children, and I hit you upside the head with a bottle (so far, not in dispute), then kicked you repeatedly (so far, also not in dispute) am pretty darn sure you could have me arrested for assault, and possible civil claims…

      “Them is fighting words”, might explain emotions, but is no defense for acts.

  3. Tia Will

    Them is fighting words”, might explain emotions, but is no defense for acts.

    This I agree with completely. Nothing that I have seen or heard about this case justifies in any way a physical attack on the officers.

    Having said that, I am going to reiterate my belief that there is also no justification for a police officer, on duty, acting as a trained and payed professional to protect the public, to ever use an obscenity. This type of language is guaranteed to escalate a volatile situation and frequently precedes physical violence. Since it serves no positive purpose, and frequently has adverse consequences, I would recommend that officers be strictly prohibited from using this kind of language.

  4. Tia Will

    David

    I have a question. What was the reason given for not releasing the tape, or is there just no response ?  It would seem that if it did support the officer’s account, the sooner it was released, the sooner the speculation would be headed off and the better the community confidence that this was handled appropriately. Am I missing something here ?

    1. Howard P

      Don’t know, but will speculate… there are three individuals charged with multiple offenses, each… they have yet to be arraigned… think of those records as ‘evidence’… is it appropriate to release evidence to the general public at this point?  It might satisfy our curiosity, our desire to see ‘reality TV’… it also may impede the investigation and the judicial proceedings to release them today… once they are put into evidence, as I suspect they will be, all the recordings should be ‘open’… but that’s not today

      I’m OK with not having them today, but at the end of the legal process at the latest, I agree that they should be publicly available… in the meantime, I suggest patience…

  5. Tia Will

    I think that your explanation and recommendation are sound. I am not sure how David viewing the tape would compromise an investigation, but if they believe that is a possibility, I would accept that.

  6. Dave Hart

    I’m generally not one to go to bat for police officers as a knee-jerk reaction.  But I have been favorably impressed by how the DPD handles crowd related activity.  The pepper spray event was a classic example.  In the videos from that event, the UC police were girded for war and did everything wrong.  The DPD officers played a much more laid back, even friendly presence.  Some of that may have been who had the lead authority, but it was obvious that UC police moved in a military formation while DPD officers were walking around, one at a time, chatting and interacting with students.  Much better behavior.

    On the other hand, after being on duty all day and watching young knuckleheads doing stupid stuff one of our officers let it get to him.  No excuse, maybe, but it is an explanation.

    Now what?  Maybe Russell Blvd. needs to be completely closed on Picnic Day.  Just an idea.

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