City of Davis: Retract False Statements about Picnic Day Fight

by William Kelly

As Alexander Craver, Antwoine Perry, Iszir Price, Angelica Reyes, and Elijah Williams prepare to defend themselves in court, our city government has a moral and legal obligation not to infringe on their right to a fair trial.

That’s why the city of Davis must immediately retract the official statement issued by the police department on April 24th.

The statement, entitled “Two Davis Police Officers Assaulted by Picnic Day Crowd,” contains several false and misleading claims that have a direct bearing on the ongoing trial. The statement fails to provide any evidence or sources and since its release it has been directly contradicted by publicly available video evidence and multiple witness statements, including at least one witness who has not been charged with a crime and has no relationship to the defendants.

Many of the false claims in the police’s statement have direct bearing on the trial. For example, according to the statement “Before the officers could act” their vehicle was “surrounded by a large hostile group.” Video evidence clearly shows that the officers drove their vehicle into a crowd of people and the officers could have safely exited from the driver side, which was completely clear, and identified themselves to the group. Additionally, several members of this allegedly hostile group appear to have been dancing just seconds before the fighting broke out.

The statement also claims that the police officers had “clearly displayed badges on their chests and visible police weapons” and that they “began to identify themselves” as they excited the vehicle, however witnesses claim that the officers did not identify themselves until much later and neither guns nor badges are visible in the publicly available video evidence

These facts will be of fundamental importance to the court as it determines whether the defendants started attacking three police officers for unknown reasons before the officers had a chance to identify themselves, or whether they were simply defending themselves and each other from violent strangers who they had no way of knowing were actually undercover cops.

As a community we ought to demand that our law enforcement officers accurately report facts, even when it doesn’t serve their immediate interest. It’s impossible to know exactly what impact the police department’s statement had on public opinion or will have on the trial, but it speaks volumes that this is our city’s only official statement on the circumstances leading to the picnic day fight.

The truth takes time, they tell us. But while we wait there’s no reason to let these lies stand.

William Kelly is a Davis resident and local activist

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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      1. Howard P

        Yes, where he identifies as an “activist”… really gets to the point… NOT!

        What flavor of “activist”?  Might as well say “a live person, actively drawing air”.  There are Trump activists, Bernie activists, uber religious activists, uber atheist activists, etc., etc., etc.

        A bio as “resident and activist” is amazingly thin…

  1. Tia Will

    Hi Dianne

    I believe that there should be a retraction of the police statement regardless of the identity of the author for two reasons. 1) Subsequent videos which I have reviewed demonstrate at least a reasonable amount of ambiguity about what occurred to justify removal of this statement. 2) Many people still believe that if an assertion is made by the police, then it must be true. I am always amazed when I hear this asserted, but it seems to be a common premise on which people rely in forming their opinions.


    1. Howard P

      Ahhh… it appears that defense attorneys are now using social media to gain ‘leverage’…

      The disputed ‘statement’ is subject to the same challenge/vetting as any other testimony.  That is a fact.

      A retraction would likely be used by the defense as an “admission of untruth” and used to their advantage.

      The disputed statement will be subject to scrutiny by the Court.  The “article” here, and the responses of those previously unknown to this forum will probably will not.

      The games appear to have begun…

      The ‘statement’ will need its own legs.  If untrue, it will likely be discounted/dismissed.  Now is not the time to further muddy the waters by innuendo by those who make no claim of even “being there”.  If they know something, they should present themselves as sworn witnesses as things proceed.  Key word is ‘sworn’… under penalty of perjury…

  2. Wayne Hawkes

    The title of the statement “Two Davis Police Officers Assaulted by Picnic Day Crowd” is itself a false statement. If the city refuses to retract this statement, then we know where any discipline problems in the DPD are coming from.

    1. Howard P

      You say that as if you know it as ‘fact’… contact the defense team(s) and testify to that under oath, under penalty of perjury.  That’s what a responsible citizen would do.

      Same applies to the author…

        1. Howard P

          And you are comfortable with all the ‘details’ [assuming you mean the dash-cam piece], even absent audio, that some folk say is contained in it?  That it was not ‘adulterated’?  [I believe it is for real, and should be submitted as credible evidence, as it stands, without the “interpretations” by many on here, unless they are prepared to testify as to their ‘interpretations’… Tia’s comment as to ‘ambiguity’ I agree with… not so much the retraction thing…]

          At this point, having viewed it several times, have come to no conclusion, one way or the other… others, obviously have…

          1. David Greenwald

            We don’t know everything and there are critical questions, but there is enough on the video to contradict the city’s initial press release.

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