On Sunday evening the Vanguard became aware that there was a short-lived standoff between the Davis Police, joined by CHP officers in full riot gear with a relatively small group of protesters.
In a text from Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel he explained that on Saturday, the Davis police had been providing mutual aid to West Sacramento because protesters there were attempting to enter the freeways and they were in need of assistance.
Protests were meanwhile occurring in Sacramento and expanding rapidly. As a result, Sacramento was calling for mutual aid to Yolo County.
With a protest planned for downtown Davis on Saturday afternoon and in Central Park on Saturday evening, Davis Police were at the ready.
As Chief Pytel explained, “Because frozen water bottles and other objects such as hard glass and Molotov cocktails were being thrown at law enforcement in Sacramento, we did have officers in protective gear and staged for our march on Saturday should they be needed (our officers on Saturday and Sunday personally witnessed this along with fires being set).”
But the Chief noted, “Fortunately, the march never went towards the freeway on Saturday and the staged officers were not needed. After the Saturday march we were told there would be another march on Sunday evening.”
Conditions escalated on Sunday. There was a flyer that reference Target and local pharmacies with a money bag and Davis police were receiving reports of widespread looting in others cities in the region.
He noted when the Sunday march started, they had officers staged in various areas “because of the same concerns we had on Saturday.”
“When the march started, we provided an escort like we normally do. As in the past, we facilitate marches, demonstrations and protests, even if they block traffic. We do not allow protests to enter the freeways because of the extreme danger when that happens,” the Chief explained.
They became concerned when the protesters started to head southbound on Richards Blvds.
“we activated the officers on Olive Drive to stop them from going to the freeway,” he said. “They made it around by using the bike path on the West side of Olive so the line was actually at the onramp at the overpass. Although many involved looked to be students, there were several in the crowd that seemed to want to agitate them.”
At this point Chief Pytel explained that “Officers wore protective gear and equipment because it only takes one person to throw an object that can create injury and a cascading series of events that may lead to force when it isn’t otherwise needed.”
However, the march remained peaceful and they remained on the roadway allowing the march to go off without incident.
“When protesters left we again provided escort so that they could use the streets to march. Unfortunately, they used Pole Line Rd to make their way back to the onramps at Richards. We again placed officers at the onramps,” he said.
He added, “The situation was resolved not long after that because we reached an agreement with the protesters that they wanted to just use the overpass to make their way back to downtown and disperse. They were allowed to do that and again, this went off without incident.”
Chief Pytel pointed out that “We did send the same officers that were in protective gear to Sacramento. They were again placed on looting duty and were dealing with violence. Again, none of our officers were injured or used force.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting
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