District Attorney Declines to File Charges in Glacier Apts Tasering Incident

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Bush-Titiana-3

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

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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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26 thoughts on “District Attorney Declines to File Charges in Glacier Apts Tasering Incident”

  1. Michael Harrington

    Thank you, David. Without the DV, we would know nothing about this type of incident. (Everyone: please support the DV. Make your contributions at least at the level of what you pay for a daily newspaper. And since we all get to post, an additional service, why not double that daily subscription and send it in to the DV?? David and his interns cannot do this alone.)

  2. E Roberts Musser

    I would hope that the two UCD students took a lesson from this incident, and make sure in the future to keep their personal squabbles inside the house. Unfortunately, when one takes emotional squabbles outside, and the neighbors call the police, law enforcement doesn’t know what to expect and plan for the worst. It can be an explosive situation, with misunderstanding all the way around. We have neighbors who were going through a rough patch, and used to have pretty violent arguments on the front lawn, altho it never turned physical. The police were never called, thank goodness. I think all of us neighbors realized there was some personal problems going on in the family. It will be interesting to see what the internal investigation determines, if we will ever know the results.

  3. Ryan Kelly

    There is no excuse for the police to injure a woman (or a man, for that matter) when they are responding with the purpose of keeping her from being injured.

    I believe that the Davis Ombudsman will sort this out, now that they can talk freely with him.

    I’m sorry, but I disagree with the idea that the lesson to be learned here is “to keep their personal squabbles inside the house.” I think there is a lesson to be learned, but that is definitely not it.

  4. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I’m sorry, but I disagree with the idea that the lesson to be learned here is “to keep their personal squabbles inside the house.” I think there is a lesson to be learned, but that is definitely not it. [/quote]

    Actually, I think it is a very valid point – don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Anytime you go outside and have the appearance of being involved in domestic violence and the police are called, it is an explosive situation just ripe for the unpredictable to happen, regardless of who did what to whom, including the police. It is just common sense. Had the couple stayed in the house with the argument, or at least engaged in the spat outside the hearing of their neighbors, one would assume the police never would have been called, and this never would have happened.

    Domestic violence situations are some of the most explosive and dangerous, so law enforcement is predisposed in my opinion to assume the worst. They may see what is a fairly normal argument, and read it completely wrong, and the innocent couple resist bc they felt they weren’t doing anything untoward. It is a set up for complete misunderstanding…

    I make no judgments on what the police did, bc I don’t know enough. Clearly the couple were engaged in what amounted to a harmless (and what appears to be a fairly normal) disagreement, since they were not charged. But it appears the police read it wrong, no?

  5. David M. Greenwald

    Two points here.

    The first is that it’s very difficult at the heat of the moment to think in terms of taking the fight inside, but even if that occurred, there is nothing to suggest that people wouldn’t hear something and get concerned.

    The second point, and I think this is the point that Ryan makes well and the point others have suggested is that a heavy-handed approach by the police might not be warranted and a situation that starts as a dispute and ends with a tasering has probably been mishandled.

    Now whether this gets beyond that to actual misconduct we will have to wait and see. The fact that the DA did not file charges is rather telling to me.

  6. SouthofDavis

    Ryan wrote:

    > I’m sorry, but I disagree with the idea that the
    > lesson to be learned here is “to keep their personal
    > squabbles inside the house.” I think there is a
    > lesson to be learned, but that is definitely not it.

    I think that the “lesson to be learned” is that if you are fighting in public and you fight the police that come to try and stop you from fighting you can cry “racism” and the DA will drop all the charges…

  7. David M. Greenwald

    “I think that the “lesson to be learned” is that if you are fighting in public and you fight the police that come to try and stop you from fighting you can cry “racism” and the DA will drop all the charges…”

    That’s not been my experience with the DA’s office. They tried the Galvan Brothers who were badly badly beaten three times before dropping that case.

  8. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > That’s not been my experience with the DA’s office.
    > They tried the Galvan Brothers who were badly badly
    > beaten three times before dropping that case.

    Let me re-write to better state my point:

    I think that the “lesson to be learned” is that if you are “a politically connected person of color” fighting in public and you fight the police that come to try and stop you from fighting “and there are no serious injuries to you or the police” you can cry “racism” and the DA will drop all the charges…

    If you crack a cops skull open or a cop cracks your skull open a cry of racism will not stop the DA from moving forward, but if you slap a cop and they look out the window to see 100 people from the (fill in the blank color) student union protesting your arrest it is not worth moving forward.

  9. Nemesis

    Whatever happened to police asking if everything is ok when called to a domestic dispute? Before the current police state, it was common practice to calm both sides down and ask what’s going on before they decide to take people down to the ground and arrest them. The police seem to arrest people before finding out if there is a reason.

  10. Ryan Kelly

    SouthofDavis, you are not making sense. Your re-write was more convoluted than the first. No one is crying racism. No one is protesting her arrest. She is claiming that she was the victim of police brutality. It reads like you are talking about a different incident.

  11. Fight Against Injustice

    I am glad to see that the DA’s office decided not to prosecute these individuals. I am happy that we don’t have another case like the Galvans going through the court system.

    If the DA’s office would continue not to support the police in a case where too much force was used like this, then maybe the police won’t feel empowered to use so much force.

  12. medwoman

    Elaine

    [quote]I would hope that the two UCD students took a lesson from this incident, and make sure in the future to keep their personal squabbles inside the house. [/quote]

    As a gynecologist, I am very concerned about advice “to keep personal squabbles inside the house”. It is precisely inside the house the most domestic violence occurs. Most domestic violence is indeed hidden for years from anyone. Neighbors, friends and family members frequently know that something is wrong, but choose not to intervene for a variety of reasons….. the feeling the domestic violence is a private matter or a non issue ( remember Judge Stevens comment “come on, we are all grown ups here, what’s a little wife beating”) , fear of retaliation, disinterest. The most basic issue here, even before the police became involved, is when do, or should neighbors become involved in an interaction that seems to have the possibility of escalating into harm? On the one hand, what is risked is a heavy handed police intervention, on the other hand a Kitty Genovese scenario in which over 30 people witnessed a murder in progress and no one intervened.

    More recently, one of our physicians in the Bay area was murdered by her spouse after years of accepting abuse at his hands “inside the house”.

    While this does not appear to be the case here, I would have people not ignore the underlying possibility that when witnessing an altercation, what one may be seeing may be the tip of the iceberg. And I would not
    recommend that advice ever be given to “keep a squabble inside the house” without knowing the participants personally. One might inadvertently be supporting the already too common practice of victims choosing
    “not to air their dirty laundry in public” much to their own detriment and in some cases death.

  13. Siegel

    ” this couple had a history of taking their fights outside and it appeared as if perhaps the neighbors had had it with these two…”

    You remember that huh? Well what if you were told that these two are not a couple and they certainly had no history of this sort since they were just friends?

  14. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]You remember that huh? Well what if you were told that these two are not a couple and they certainly had no history of this sort since they were just friends?[/quote]

    Not sure what point you are trying to make here…

    [quote]One of the key lessons is you don’t argue with police officers[/quote]

    Very good point.

    [quote]On the other hand, police officers need to minimize escalation of events. Was the use of force here absolutely necessary? I have to question it. The best tool a police officer has to defuse a situation is their mouths rather than handcuffs or a taser.[/quote]

    This is where my sticking point is – something just doesn’t seem to add up. As I remember it, this couple had a habit of arguing in public, and the neighbors may have been fed up. So it seems pretty clear someone finally called the police. But what doesn’t make sense is why were 4 police cars dispatched to the scene in this instance? It sounds as if the police thought there was a very serious threat before they even got there. The question is why? And once there, why did they not perceive things as much less than they had been led to believe? I just feel as if we are not getting the full story (no criticism of the Vanguard – I just don’t feel as if we know all the facts)…

  15. Siegel

    There are lessons here for both sides. One of the things we teach in know your rights courses is how to assert rights while at the same time cooperating with the lawful duty of police officers. One of the key lessons is you don’t argue with police officers – if necessary you deal with disputes with police in court.

    On the other hand, police officers need to minimize escalation of events. Was the use of force here absolutely necessary? I have to question it. The best tool a police officer has to defuse a situation is their mouths rather than handcuffs or a taser.

  16. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The first is that it’s very difficult at the heat of the moment to think in terms of taking the fight inside, but even if that occurred, there is nothing to suggest that people wouldn’t hear something and get concerned. [/quote]

    If I remember rightly, this couple had a history of taking their fights outside and it appeared as if perhaps the neighbors had had it with these two…

    To medwoman: This was not a case of domestic violence, just what seems to be a normal domestic spat. I tend to agree w hpierce here – why did 4 police cars respond. I too feel as if I don’t have the full story…

  17. Thomas A. Anderson

    This incident was never about race. The only person who made it about race was Ms. Bush. Shortly after the incident, Ms. Bush told the Aggie “The most disgusting part of all this is that there were some white kids clapping on the side of the street during the arrest. You can’t tell me this isn’t a problem in Davis. I would never expect my peers to clap during brutalization by the police.” She makes this statement in a complete subjective vaccuum of reality – as if her loud yelling back and forth with her friend, and then back and forth with the police, in a residential neighborhood AT NIGHT had nothing to do with what happened next.

    Maybe those weren’t just “white kids?” Maybe they were other college students who did not like their studies being interrupted by a couple of obnoxious neighbors who can’t control their anger, who want to air their grievances in public as if they were on a Maury Povich set, and who just can’t keep it down? Maybe those “white kids” were a couple of single moms who live in the apartments who spent the previous 3 hours trying to get their babies asleep when the yelling started (and kept going), destroying all hope of a peaceful night? Maybe those “white kids” were local homeowners who live in the houses across the street from those apartments, homeowners who are sick and tired of young adults yelling and screaming in the street at all hours of the night with no regard whatsoever for the families who are trying to enjoy their evenings?

    I would clap too. And it would have nothing whatsoever to do with the race of anyone involved.

  18. Siegel

    “I would clap too. And it would have nothing whatsoever to do with the race of anyone involved.”

    You would clap at police tasering kids in a case this DA believes didn’t warrant criminal charges?

  19. Thomas A. Anderson

    Yes, I would.

    Your question is not as simple as that, however. This DA is a political animal, and wants to avoid any bad press, especially after the Bee castigated him during the clinton parish debacle. The last thing he wants is to give voice to someone who is crying racism.

    I would clap, not because the police were “tasering kids in a case this DA believes didn’t warrant criminal charges” as you put it, I would clap because the police responded and got them to shut up. Homeowners in Davis (and I can imagine everywhere else, but especially in a college town) are sick and tired of young adults yelling and screaming in the street at all hours of the night, in a residential area, with no regard whatsoever for the families who are trying to enjoy their evenings. Call it the “Maury Povich” phenomenon, where some people might think this type of behavior as depicted on TV is normal and acceptable.

    Oh, and if you fight with the police, expect bad things to happen, even if the local DA decides against charging you with a crime.

  20. medwoman

    [quote]Homeowners in Davis (and I can imagine everywhere else, but especially in a college town) are sick and tired of young adults yelling and screaming in the street at all hours of the night, in a residential area, with no regard whatsoever for the families who are trying to enjoy their evenings.[/quote]

    I can’t help but wonder if you actually witnessed this episode and so are responding with knowledge of what happened, or are you just talking about your own frustration with behavior you consider unacceptable and have seen in other instances. It is one thing if this episode is as you described a public Maury Povich type episode, or if it was a single instance of two people, of whom we do not appear to be clear on their relationship, behaving in a way, whether repetitive or not,that was concerning to the neighbors.

    If it is only noise and disruption that we are talking about, because of my location in town, I was more disturbed by my neighbors calling their kids in to the house than I was the students in near by apartments,
    and yet I doubt many of us would think about disparaging this behavior. Also, the neighborhood street hockey and cul de sac basketball games were very noisy especially when I was coming off the night shift. When one chooses to live in a community, one is going to be exposed to the noises of that community.

    Another issue here may be difference in cultural perception and age related tolerance of behavior. It would seem that many people are bothered once they get into their older years, by the very same behaviors that they likely engaged in when they were in their late teens and twenties. Also, having lived in many different types of neighborhoods, from rural to inner city, I am aware that not every community holds exactly the same standards for physical proximity during a discussion and for acceptable volume of conversation. I was recently out having dim sum with a Chinese friend. When going over the bill, my friend and the waitress got into what to me appeared to be an embarrassingly loud and contentious conversation in Mandarin. I was very, very uncomfortable, but no one else in this predominantly Chinese patronized restaurant so much as looked up.
    Just an illustration of how perceptions are definitely colored by what we perceive to be agressive, or even unaccpetable behavior, but may fall within someone else’s norm.

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