Picnic Day Incident Preliminary Hearing Takes a Lengthy Direction

By Novpreet Shoker

As a handful of protesters gathered in front of the Yolo County Superior Courthouse, the preliminary hearing for the Picnic Day Five dives into its second day as three Davis Police Department officers testified about the incident that took place on April 22 in Davis, better known as Picnic Day.

The case includes five defendants: Elijah Williams, Iszir Price, Antwoine Perry, Alexander Craver, and Angelica Reyes, who are all out on bail but facing charges such as assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury on a peace officer, as well as resisting arrest by force.

Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens brought in three different witnesses to testify on the events that transpired on Picnic Day this past April, in which all defendants engaged with two officers, Sergeant Stephen Ramos and Detective Ryan Bellamy, in a rather harmful physical altercation.

The hearing began with Officer Alan Hatfield as the first witness. DDA Couzens began by asking Officer Hatfield about what his role was that day. The witness explained that he was patrolling as he heard the call sent out about a “black male, in his 20’s, with bleached braided hair” who had fled an altercation involving two police officers.

This individual was identified as Antwoine Perry, and when the officer stopped the defendant, Perry explained that a man “rushed” him and therefore his friend began swinging. Perry went on to describe how a fourth person came in swinging at him, and dragged Perry on the ground.

Officer Hatfield also revealed that when he stopped Perry, the young man was wearing a red and black full-sleeve flannel shirt, but was known to have been wearing an orange jersey earlier, around the time of the altercation. Perry explained to the officer that he exchanged his jersey for the flannel with a friend, but, later after being arrested, it was discovered that the jersey was in his backpack.

The hearing turned to cross-examination by Attorney Jeff Raven, defense counsel for Iszir Price, who asked Officer Hatfield if the conversation between Perry and him was recorded on his body camera from his uniform, to which he answered yes.

Mr. Raven also asked Officer Hatfield if Perry knew the man had identified himself as an officer. Officer Hatfield did admit that Perry withdrew himself from the altercation when he realized the individual was an officer, but he did not seek any further clarification after Perry disclosed this information to him.

Perry’s defense attorney focused the cross-examination on the specific location of the orange jersey only. Officer Hatfield offered his opinion, which was that Perry was trying to change his appearance, so as to elude any officers looking for him.

Deputy Public Defender Emily Fisher, defense attorney for Angelica Reyes, asked Officer Hatfield several clarifying questions in a fairly persistent manner. She continued asking the witness if Perry was running from him or was uncooperative when questioned, if he denied the altercation, or if he tried to hide from him when the witness drove past him.

Officer Hatfield conceded that Perry was cooperative, forthcoming, and honest as well.

The witness was then excused.

The second witness brought in by prosecution was Nicholas Peel. When asked by Deputy DA Couzens about his role, Officer Peel explained that he responded to a call about a “black male adult, 20’s, with bleached tips,” and found two individuals about a block away from where the altercation took place.

Those two individuals were Iszir Price and Elijah Williams. Price was spotted due to his missing one of his shoes.

Officer Peel approached the young men, and first asked if they had any weapons on them. Price said he had no weapons, but he did have a turquoise jersey which was hidden down the front of his shorts.

After the jersey was presented to the officer, the officer asked Price to explain what happened. Price then described how he received a phone call from his brother Antwoine Perry’s girlfriend, who is Angelica Reyes, telling him that Perry was involved in a fight.

When Price arrived at the fight, he reportedly saw a Hawaiian male on top of his brother and he began to get involved. However, when he heard someone yell “undercover” twice, he became confused and left the area to find his brother, who had left.

During cross-examination, Mr. Raven asked if Price was walking at a normal pace, to which the officer answered yes.

He then asked why the officer asked about weapons first. Officer Peel explained that he believed it was appropriate due to the fact that Price was a suspect in an altercation involving police officers being assaulted.

Perry’s defense lawyer asked the officer if Price produced his jersey voluntarily, to which Officer Peel agreed that he did.

The next line of questioning was by Ms. Fisher who asked Officer Peel if this was his first Picnic Day on duty. Officer Peel said that it was. She then asked if that was why he was doubled up with another officer during patrol, but Officer Peel remained adamant that it was standard protocol.

Eric Hintz, defense counsel for Alexander Craver, asked Officer Peel if Price said he was confused during the whole incident, and Officer Peel said that was correct.

DDA Couzens then asked Officer Peel what Price had said about the officers that were involved in the altercation. Officer Peel quoted Price saying that “he looked like us” and he “thought it was just random a– people.”

The witness was then excused.

The third witness called in was Joshua Helton, the chief investigator in this case. Mr. Couzens asked Officer Helton to begin with Angelica Reyes.

Officer Helton explained that his first communication with Reyes was through a Facetime call that Perry made while he was being interviewed that day. According to her, Reyes was punched by a police officer and she thought she blacked out after that.

Later that night, Reyes was able to speak with Officer Helton in person, during which she explained that she and some friends were at the intersection near Russell Boulevard when an unmarked vehicle approached them.

After some verbal exchange between Mr. Perry and the individuals in the vehicle, she did not remember much of anything. She consistently claimed to have no recollection of the incident.

She then showed Officer Helton a nine-second video and several photos of the incident off her phone. Toward the end of the video, the last few frames showed Reyes pulling her right leg back, as if she had been intending to kick toward the direction of Sergeant Ramos’ face.

When asked about it, Reyes denied it three times, and reportedly said she “never touched anyone.”

Mr. Couzens asked Officer Helton if Reyes claimed to know Craver, and Officer Helton said Reyes denied knowing him. Couzens then presented the courtroom with a photograph of Reyes, Perry, Price, and Craver drinking in a vehicle together the day of the incident.

The hearing concluded with DDA Couzens asking Officer Helton to explain the incident through the videos provided, frame by frame.

From the footage, it was visible that Craver struggled with Sergeant Ramos, and at one point held him in a chokehold.

Another noticeable detail was Elijah Williams swinging and punching Detective Bellamy several times. The final piece of information found from the video was Reyes attempting to kick Sergeant Ramos in the face while he was on the ground.

Judge David Rosenberg then decided to break for the day. The preliminary hearing will resume later on this month, on the 29th, at 8:30 a.m.

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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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