The Yolo County District Attorney’s office declined to file charges against UC Davis students Jerome Wren and Tatiana Bush, who were arrested for allegedly repeatedly resisting arrest after police responded to a call of a disturbance on May 23 at the Glacier Point Apartments in West Davis.
Ms. Bush, a recent UC Davis graduate who served as a member on Cruz Reynoso’s Task Force looking into the pepper spraying, believes that she and Mr. Wren are the victims of police brutality.
The decision by the DA’s office not to file charges leads to more questions than answers. Davis Police Lt. Paul Doroshov told the Vanguard on Monday that they have not had an opportunity to talk with the DA’s office about their reasons for not filing criminal charges.
He noted that the standard for charging and trying a criminal case is somewhat higher than the standard for arrest, which is probable cause.
The department plans to meet with Tatiana Bush and Jerome Wren, who are now more free to discuss the matter without the threat of criminal charges, and the department’s internal investigation will continue.
On Monday Ms. Bush told the Vanguard that the day of May 23 had been a stressful one with uncertainty involving the health of her mother and her living status.
She went to her friend Jerome Wren’s home that evening, and she insists that she and Mr. Wren were not fighting, but rather they were yelling and having an emotional discussion.
She told the Vanguard that Mr. Wren had attempted to hug her to calm her down, but she pushed him off her.
Four police cars immediately approached as they were standing in front of the apartment office, and immediately they ordered Mr. Wren to go there. She described confusion as they walked toward the officer, when the officer grabbed him and put Mr. Wren into a hold.
Tatiana Bush told the Vanguard that she approached the police with her hands in the air to show that she was not resisting, while asking why they were being arrested.
Three of the officers went to take Mr. Wren into custody.
“They put him in the back of a police car,” she said. “Then they grabbed me by the neck and pushed me against a police car.”
She said that she does not remember part of what happened next but has pieced it together. A witness had later asked her how her head was. It was at this point she realized that she had a bruise and a lump on her head.
She believes her head was hit on the police car, though she does not know if it was intentional or unintentional.
What she does know is that she suffered bruises to her neck and legs, and the doctor the next day diagnosed her with a concussion. She had to drop a class as the result and almost did not graduate this past June.
Meanwhile Mr. Wren was handcuffed with five officers on top of him. While in the car, Mr. Wren was grabbed, pulled back out of the vehicle and thrown to the ground outside the car. When he tried to stand up, he was taken to the ground by four or five officers and at this point he was Tasered.
Ms. Bush told the Vanguard that the officer who drove her to the Davis Police Station and ultimately issued her notice to appear treated her well. She said that the other officers who arrived later did not know why they were there.
She said that the officer told her that this was not a racial thing and noted that he had black friends.
In May, the Vanguard received a press release from the Davis Police Department describing the incident in a vastly different light from Ms. Bush.
The police said they were responding to a 911 call in which the caller reported observing a male and a female in an argument and then a physical confrontation. The reporting party gave specific clothing and physical descriptions of both the male and female involved, according to Davis Police sources.
As officers arrived, they observed two people (subsequently identified as Tatiana Bush and Jerome Wren) who matched the description provided by the reporting party. Officers attempted to detain and separate the two so they could investigate.
According to the police, “Wren refused to follow the Officer’s commands and became argumentative. When the officers attempted to physically detain him, Wren resisted the officer by pushing them.”
The press release continues, “Officers wrestled with Wren and were able to restrain him, handcuff him, and place him in the back seat of a patrol car.”
During this time, the Davis Police Officers were struggling to get Mr. Wren under control. In the meantime, Ms. Bush also interfered with the police’s efforts.
“Despite numerous requests for her to keep her distance and not interfere, Tatiana Bush interfered by physically placing herself in close proximity to the struggle,” the police report.
Her efforts to intervene were so substantial that the police describe, “At one point, Bush was so close she became pinned in between the struggling officers, Wren, and a police car.”
Nor did Mr. Wren calm down once he was arrested and seated in the back of the police vehicle.
Somehow he managed, in the back seat of the patrol car, to escape from his handcuffs, kick the door open and assault one of the officers.
The obvious question here is how he managed to do that.
The police report, “Wren pushed the officer, and ultimately punched the officer in the face with his fist. After a more significant struggle than the first [time], the officers were only able to subdue Wren by using a Taser. He was subsequently transported and lodged at the Yolo County Jail.”
In the meantime, Ms. Bush was arrested and released on a citation for interfering with police officers.
The police report, “In accordance with Davis Police Department policy, a review of the force used in this incident and an internal investigation into policy compliance are already under way.”
The police have an audio recording of the incident, along with partial police video recordings.
“All information and evidence available will be analyzed by internal investigators to provide as complete a picture as possible of this incident and all of the factors contributing to its development and outcome,” they report.
The DA’s decision not to file charges in this case leads to questions about the initial account by police officers. Ms. Bush has filed a complaint and an internal investigation is pending.
The Vanguard understands that the audio recording was inconclusive.
—David M. Greenwald reporting