While there are times and places for off-colored jokes, murder is not a good topic for a joke, and the retirement presentation for the police chief is not the time to call Davis “the murder capital of Yolo County” – as Chief Deputy DA Jonathan Raven quickly learned on Tuesday night, much to the horror of outgoing Police Chief Landy Black and city councilmembers standing directly in front of him.
It started out as the next in the series of public officials paying tribute to Chief Landy Black. Representing the Yolo County DA’s office was Jonathan Raven, a long-time Davis resident.
“It’s been a great run, Chief Black,” Mr. Raven said. “The relationship between the DA’s office, DA Jeff Reisig and the police department has never been better. The new chief is going to have some big shoes to fill and I’m sure he’s up to it.”
Then he said, “Davis unfortunately has become kind of the murder capital of Yolo County for the next couple of years.” The video shows him smiling as he believes he is delivering a punchline of a joke.
“But with that, that department has really stepped up,” he continued. What you don’t see on the video is the look of horror, not just on the face of Landy Black, but on the faces of the entire city council, which is standing less than ten feet in front of Mr. Raven.
He quickly changes course and attempts to backtrack, realizing his mistake. “I say that tongue in cheek, and it’s not funny actually and it wasn’t meant to be funny…” Except of course that he delivered it with a huge smile on his face, because he did intend it to be funny.
He then attempted to minimize the damage, “What I meant by that was really the investigations done by the Davis Police Department in these really really serious cases has been just remarkable and the cases that you have given us to prosecute with some success have been really remarkable and that really tells a lot about Landy and his leadership.”
Several city officials expressed their dismay to the Vanguard about the reference to Davis as a murder capital of Yolo County. The community has been reeling from the latest murder in September at the KetMoRee Thai Restaurant & Bar.
Since 2013, Davis has had the double murder by Daniel Marsh in the spring, Aquelin Talamantes was convicted last year in the 2013 drowning of her young daughter, Darnell Dorsey will stand trial for the alleged murder of his girl friend’s trial, there was the murder-suicide earlier this year by Joseph Hein, and, of course, the most recent murder at KetMoRee.
That is a total of six murders in a three-year period. While not a high number, it is certainly a tragic situation, not only for the families of the victims but for the entire community.
—David M. Greenwald reporting