Following a request from the Vanguard, UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael has released a redacted police report from the August 26, 2015, arrest of Fayia Sellu, a former UC Davis student who spoke with the Vanguard last week and filed a formal complaint regarding his treatment in the incident.
Officer Guerrero wrote of the incident that occurred at 0130 hours which was called in at approximately at 0013. “On the above date and time, I, OFC M Guerrero responded to Shields Library (24 Hour Reading Room) on a reported suspicious (redacted) who had entered without the use of a card key. Upon arrival subject (redacted) was located inside the 24 hour reading room. We asked (redacted) to step outside after determining that (redacted) did not had (sic) an access card to the room and (redacted).”
Officer Guerrero writes, “I explained to (redacted) that (redacted) was not allowed to use the facility as (redacted)… argued about it but eventually decided to leave the campus.”
Mr. Sellu was cited under Penal Code section 626.6(a), which is “If a person who is not a student, officer or employee of a college or university… is committing any act likely to interfere with the peaceful conduct of the activities of the campus or facility, or has entered the campus or facility for the purpose of committing any such act, the chief administrative officer or his or her designee may direct the person to leave the campus or facility. If that person fails to do so or if the person willfully and knowingly reenters upon the campus or facility within seven days after being directed to leave, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor…”
As indicated, he was “contacted as a result of a complaint” about accessing the 24-hour room. He allegedly “gained access to the building as a student left.” They say he had an old dorm card in his possession and it did not work. He “refused to leave building when asked by (Officers) Sheffield and Guerrero.” He was escorted out and issued the section 626 Penal Code violation. He was then released at the scene.
Chief Carmichael explained to the Vanguard, “All complaints related to police misconduct are investigated outside of the police department by the Office of Compliance. Furthermore, once the investigation is complete it is forwarded to the UC Davis Police Accountability Board for review and recommendation to the Chief of Police. From this process an annual report will be published detailing the entire process including information about the complaints received.”
The chief confirmed that this particular complaint was forwarded to the process some time ago.
Mr. Sellu told the Vanguard that, as a former student, he has often utilized the 24-hour reading room on the side of Shields Library to do late night reading and studying. He told the Vanguard he had seen the two officers enter the reading area, but thought nothing about it as he was soon absorbed in his reading – when he discovered the two officers were standing directly over him.
The officers said he refused to leave, but Mr. Sellu told the Vanguard that when the officers approached they asked for identification and that when he reached into his pocket to get that identification, they asked him to go outside rather than attempt to resolve the situation inside.
He told the Vanguard that he willingly went outside in order to clear up the matter. However, at this point, the demeanor of the officers changed. There was no mention in either report about the manner or speed of the arrest.
“On approach of the lobby, Officer Sheffield dashed for my right armed and twisted it in a motion as to get me face down. Two other officers waiting in the wings of the lobby joined in and handcuffed me with no apparent tussle,” he said.
He said, “I was told among other things that my student ID had expired, hence, terminating my access to the study lounge. I accepted that.”
We are still left with the puzzle as to why the police were called in the first place. His bigger complaint, however, is the treatment by officers once they confronted him. Here, there is nothing in the police report to guide us.
Mr. Sellu told the Vanguard, “What baffled me however, and SHOOK me violently both physically and psychologically, is the over-zealousness with which the detention was carried out. I stepped out of the building I used to occupy as a student fairly recently, in handcuffs, to face four police escort SUVs parked at the curb outside.”
Again, Mr. Sellu has filed a formal complaint and that complaint will go through the formal complaint process.
—David M. Greenwald reporting