Asian Man Believes He Was ‘Karened’ in Davis, Davis Police Unsympathetic

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Davis Police Car

Khoa Lam, a Vietnamese immigrant who grew up in Davis and recently passed his residency to become a doctor and landed a position in Dallas, was visiting his parents this week in Davis at the Moore Village Apartment complex when he twice fell victim to a phenomenon now popularly referred to as being “Karened”—having someone call the police on a person of color out of unreasonable suspicion.

Officers Hatcher and Ramos, two female officers with the Davis Police Department, arrived but Dr. Lam found them unsympathetic.

Dr. Lam spoke with the Vanguard on Saturday, and the incident happened on Friday around 6 pm when he was taking a walk out by the apartments where his parents live. He was Facetiming with his wife, who was visiting her family in Philadelphia as he was visiting his here.

As he was talking, he saw a lady mouthing something him. He asked her if there was something she needed, “She said something like ‘you can’t be walking around here.’” She added, he said, “You don’t belong here.”

“What?” he said. “I’m visiting family.”

At this point he said to his wife that he had to hang up so he could record it.

The lady told him, “You need to leave right now.” And repeated, “You don’t belong here.”

Then she asked if he knew anyone here, and he responded yes, his parents. “Then she asked, where are your parents? That’s when I was thinking, I don’t need to answer any of this stuff. I wasn’t doing anything illegal. I don’t look suspicious. I was just walking around the paths where anyone can walk. I lived there for four years during medical school from 2008 to 2013.

“I had never encountered anything like this,” he said. “There was no reason for my presence to cause any questions.”

He told her he would not answer any more of her questions as he started his recording. At this point she left and claimed she would call the police.

“I was like, what, you’re going to call the cops on me for looking suspicious?” he said. “I was like, call the cops. I’m waiting here.”

He said he was so upset that he immediately posted this encounter on his Facebook page. But it wasn’t over yet.

“I was pretty shaken up by the whole incident,” he said.

The video he posted, about one minute, shows the lady in front of her apartment suggesting, “You don’t belong here” and asking, “Do you know someone here?”

“Yeah I do,” he said.

“Where are you visiting?” she asked.

“My parents,” he responded.

“Where is that?” she asked.

“Where are my parents? Why do I have to explain to you?” he asked. His voice was calm, in fact, he sounded remarkably the same as he did on the phone interview, with the same cadence, tempo and demeanor.

At this point she walked away and said, “I don’t think you need to be videotaping.”

He told her, “You call the police.”

He was in the middle of posting the event while waiting, in case the lady actually called the police so he could present his case. Fifteen minutes later a second person, a man, got in his face and demanded to know what he was doing there.

As he described it to the Vanguard, the man was confrontational.

“My neighbor told me you were videotaping the whole place,” the man said.

“What the hell,” he was thinking. The man started asking questions and Dr. Lam again is thinking, “I don’t have to answer any of these questions.”

He told the man, “You can call the cops if you want, but I don’t have to answer anything.”

He said, “There was no reason for him to even accuse me of taking photos of people’s cars or houses.” He said, “I don’t have to answer to anybody.” At this point, all he was doing was texting family and friends about what had previously happened.

“He’s not a cop. He’s not a neighborhood watch. He’s nobody,” he said. “He called the cops on me. I was furious.”

The video shows the man calling the police, “There is a man walking around my apartment complex. He’s taking photos of people’s houses. I walked up and asked him and he got very standoffish, won’t answer any of my questions, he’s videotaping me now.”

When the man went in, Dr. Lam said he got his ID and wallet out and stood outside waiting for the cops.

At this point, as indicated above, Officer Hatcher and Officer Ramos arrived, two white female police officers. Officer Hatcher came up and asked what happened.

“I told them I’m a doctor, I’m visiting my parents here,” he said. His friends had recommended that he tell the cops that he’s a doctor because “it lends more credibility that he’s not a criminal. He’s a good citizen trying to help people.”

Dr. Lam had just finished his fellowship in neuroradiology at the University of Washington at Seattle. He completed that work and just landed a job in Dallas, TX, where he starts on August 3. In between, he has spent two weeks in Davis.

He came to the U.S. in 2000 from Vietnam, coming to Sacramento for a few years and moving to Davis a few years later.

Dr. Lam said he told Officer Ramos what happened, and his parents also came out to talk to the police. He told her that he hadn’t been doing anything and was “falsely accused.” The second person “interrogated me and falsely accused me.”

Dr. Lam said “at that point I was pretty worked up.”

The officer said, “You repeatedly asked him to call the cops. He didn’t know what to do. So he ended up calling the cops.”

Dr. Lam said he was baffled by this, believing the man had gotten into his face and was confrontational and accusatory.

“He called the cops on me and now is blaming me for pushing him to call the cops,” he told the Vanguard.

He said that Officer Hatcher told him, “It’s about perspectives. To you, you don’t look suspicious and aren’t doing anything suspicious. To them, you look suspicious and were doing something suspicious. And all they were asking was for some clarification.”

Dr. Lam said that he responded, “Do I look like a terrorist or a vandal or something like that?”

She started laughing. “Do you know what terrorists look like?”

“I was in utter shock at the way she handled my situation,” he said. He said that she was basically blaming him for being uncooperative with the other citizens about his situation.  Dr. Lam said that he wanted the officer to allow him to talk with them to explain that he wasn’t doing anything wrong, but she advised against it and told him he should just let the matter rest.

The Vanguard asked Chief Darren Pytel if he was aware of the incident—he was able to find the call but would not be able to view the police body cam until Monday.

The term “Karen” has crept into American lexicon after the incident in which Amy Cooper in Central Park called the police on a man she said was harassing her, but the accusations were revealed to be false.

The term now refers to a woman or person “perceived to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is considered appropriate or necessary.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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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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136 thoughts on “Asian Man Believes He Was ‘Karened’ in Davis, Davis Police Unsympathetic”

  1. Keith Olsen

    The term now refers to a woman or person “perceived to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is considered appropriate or necessary.”

    According to Wikipedia:

    Karen is a pejorative term used in theUnited States and other English-speaking countries for a woman ‘perceived to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is considered appropriate or necessary‘. 

    Funny how you left out the first part, how the term is “pejorative”.

    Is that because pejorative terms are not allowed on the Vanguard?

    1. Richard McCann

      The question is when is a pejorative term appropriate, or at least allowable. Perjorative terms are not appropriate and border on being a hate crime when it is about something that the person has no control over, e.g., being Black, Asian, Latino (even white), being of Jewish or other heritage that has been inherited, religious beliefs (but allowed as a descriptor), being LGBTQ+ (contrary to any nonscientific comments), being disabled. Pejorative terms are allowed if not appropriate for conditions that an individual has choice and control over, e.g., liberal, conservative, progressive, reactionary, populist, socialist, capitalist, racist, Objectivist, Marxist, Karen.

      1. Alan Miller

        Pejorative terms are allowed if not appropriate for conditions that an individual has choice and control over,

        Tell that to every women named “Karen”.

        1. Tia Will

          Alan

          Just no. It is entirely possible to change one’s name. Many, many women and a lesser number of men chose to do so voluntarily every year. Although I did not choose to change my last name, I did change my first. Race…not so easy to change for most .

      2. Alan Miller

        Pejorative terms are allowed if not appropriate for conditions that an individual has choice and control over,

        Are you saying “allowed” as in ‘socially’, or as in ‘Vanguard policy’ ?

        1. Keith Olsen

          Here’s some rules from the Vanguard comment policy regulations:

          Directly calling someone a name that is or could be construed as derogatory will be removed by the moderator. 

          General insults that are provocative are especially discouraged.Examples of general insults would be referring to those who disagree with a commenter as: selfish, extremist, anti-growth, no-growth, open space extremists, reactionary, change-averse, no-growth NIMBY farmland moat people, moochers, looters and entitled population.

          So Richard, you are wrong.  “Karen” should not be allowed according to the Vanguard’s own comment policy.  Just as Wikipedia describes it, Karen is a pejorative term.

  2. Keith Olsen

    Where’s the video?  It would add to the story, give it perspective.

    What race was the lady who first questioned him and what race was the man that called the police?

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I’m not going to post the video because it shows both the people involved – I don’t have the ability to blur them out right now. I watched them and quoted them. His account was pretty accurate from what I could see. The videos don’t show what he may have been doing to attract attention nor do they show the interaction with the police.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            The more important issue – would a white person been treated in the same manner as Dr. Lam?

        1. Keith Olsen

          The more important issue – would a white person been treated in the same manner as Dr. Lam?

          Possibly.  I know that apartment complex and some of the paths are very close to the apartments, especially on the back side next to the creek.

          David, have you tried to get the other side of the story?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Yes – I asked Pytel what he knew. I have asked for the body camera. I did on the video see some of the interaction which was actually very close to how Dr. Lam described it.

            I have a lot of experience taking photos and video, and have never had the kind of interaction described by Dr. Lam.

        2. Keith Olsen

          No, not just the police cams but maybe you could get the two sides of the story of the people who confronted Lam.  Why they felt the need to do so?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            We have the description from the one who was recorded making the 911 call. I think we have a pretty good idea as to why he called – of course, he was probably less than aware of what happened prior to coming outside.

      1. Alan Miller

        I don’t have the ability to blur them out right now.

        Blur them out?  Why?  If you do that, how would we get them cancelled and fired from their jobs?

  3. Ron Glick

    At 6 pm while still light you don’t lead with “You don’t belong here.”

    If she had started with something like hello, are you new here? Or some other opening this entire thing could have been easily avoided. Its best to start with basic social graces instead of accusations.

    1. John Hobbs

      If she had minded her own business, this entire thing would have been avoided.  If the cops knew the law, this whole thing could have been avoided. Photography in and from a public place is constitutionally protected activity. Maybe Davis needs a few dedicated First amendment audits from seasoned auditors.

    2. Tia Will

      Ron

      This was my first thought also. Regardless of race, whatever makes someone so paranoid, fearful, or entitled that their opener in a conversation is ” you don’t belong here.” ?

  4. Keith Olsen

    Officers Hatcher and Ramos, two women officers with the Davis Police Department, arrived but Dr. Lam found them unsympathetic.

    Hmmmmm, was this sentence altered?

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      This is the sentence from my Google doc: “When the police arrived, Officer Hatcher and Officer Ramos, two women officers with the Davis Police Department, Dr. Lam found them unsympathetic.”

      Looks like Cathy rephrased it slightly.

  5. Alan Miller

    The officers sounded from what is described as if they handled this very professionally.  They had to respond to the call, and explained about perspectives.  The second person continued to see someone hanging out and took the neighbors perspective by helping her out, if overly-aggressively.  The first person, mouthing ‘you don’t belong here’ if accurately described, sounds like a poster child for better mental health services, and quite possibly was acting out of racism, though what her motivation was for that whacked-out behavior is unclear.

    It’s not clear to me why Lam continued to hang out, except to want to clear his name.  If he left it would have been over.   I’ve had that feeling of being wronged and hanging out to prove myself right to authorities and done so.  If that was the motivation I do understand it.

    The fact that Lam was in the same area from 2008-2013 and “never encountered anything like this,” shows that this isn’t widespread in the northeastern Davis, unless there has been an influx of Karen’s in the last seven years.  If “Davis Karen” really was motivated/triggered by seeing a person of Asian persuasion on their cell phone walking down the street in Davis, she’s going to be quite busy clogging the DPD dispatcher lines.

    Is this real Karenism, or a case of “fishing for Karens”?   My jury is out on that, as I don’t know what’s not in this woman’s heart, or what isn’t working in her head.  Certainly not a candidate for the best opening line award.

    I’m gonna take a bike ride out to Moore Village later today to get an ‘on the ground perspective’.  And I’m bringing my ‘Karen Cam’.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I don’t think the police handled it appropriately – she seemed to lack awareness of the Karening phenomenon. I think people need to not confront others in situations such as this. In broad daylight there really isn’t a safety risk. Also, there is the Yolo Conflict Resolution Center that the police have a relationship with, the officer should have offered those services to Dr. Lam as a way to meet with the police callers and she didn’t offer that as an alternative. This would have been a perfect scenario for Restorative Justice – Dr. Lam practically begged for it.

      1. Alan Miller

        she seemed to lack awareness of the Karening phenomenon.

        “she” being ‘Davis Karen’ or one of the two cops?

        I think people need to not confront others in situations such as this.

        I think people should not do a lot of things, but good luck to either of us controlling what other people do.

        In broad daylight there really isn’t a safety risk.

        I think this goes way beyond if there was a safety risk.  If the pre-recording part of the story is as stated, there is likely a mental-health issue here.  The women’s actions were not rational.

        Also, there is the Yolo Conflict Resolution Center that the police have a relationship with, the officer should have offered those services to Dr. Lam as a way to meet with the police callers and she didn’t offer that as an alternative.

        This isn’t a trick question.  I really don’t understand what aspect of this would be helped by involving YCRC.  Are you referring to Lam vs. police or Lam vs. ‘Davis Karen’ ?  And what do you feel needs resolution?

        This would have been a perfect scenario for Restorative Justice – Dr. Lam practically begged for it.

        Isn’t restorative justice in relation to a crime being committed?  I don’t see what you feel would be resolved with RJ.  Can RJ even be evoked in a situation where no one is cited?

        1. Keith Olsen

          This isn’t a trick question.  I really don’t understand what aspect of this would be helped by involving YCRC.  Are you referring to Lam vs. police or Lam vs. ‘Davis Karen’ ?  And what do you feel needs resolution?Isn’t restorative justice in relation to a crime being committed?  I don’t see what you feel would be resolved with RJ.  Can RJ even be evoked in a situation where no one is cited?

          Eggggzactly, unless hurt feelings are subject to these programs.

        2. Todd Edelman

          YCRC can faciliate a discussion. In this case it seems like it should involve everyone that was part of the incident plus possibly the several people in this thread who blame Dr Lam for being assertive. De-escalation is useful, but normal people doing nothing should not be blamed for not doing it.

          I am not sure if this will solve anything, but it should be tried.

        3. Ron Oertel

          In this case it seems like it should involve everyone that was part of the incident plus possibly the several people in this thread who blame Dr Lam for being assertive.

          Not taking a position regarding that, other than to be amused by the suggestion.

          But now that I think about it, wasn’t Dr. Lam (also) involved?

          Hopefully, we’ll all get to the bottom of this important story, in the days to come. 😉

          I think the Vanguard itself needs a permanent, in-house “de-escalator”.

        4. Bill Marshall

          Alan… did you end up doing your ride-by?  Curious as to your impressions, if you did… I might tomorrow, but not sure I know the exact/precise location… might bring a cam (and show it off)  just to see if a middle-aged white guy gets a ‘reaction’ from the locals…

          This seems to be a ‘tempest in a demi-tass (sp?) cup’…

    2. Tia Will

      Alan,

      “If overly aggressively”  I would not trivialize “aggression” in our brittle, inhospitable, and too often violent times. “An overly aggressive ” response has ended in the death of many, disproportionately people of color.

      1. Bill Marshall

        You may be correct…

        But the account suggests that Dr Lam was ‘passive-aggressively‘ planning and taking several measures to “Karen” the two he encountered.  The filming, posting, ‘daring’ the two to call the police, sticking around until PD responded, taping, then posting that, the “interview” with the VG… looks a tad disproportionate… more ‘restorative retaliation’ than any sense of ‘restorative justice’… [Yes, David, aimed at your account and subsequent comments]

        I’m actually agreeing with you Tia, but, P-A aggression is still aggression… doesn’t justify anyone… just points out no one’s hands are ‘clean’… my tally is 3 folk who acted inappropriately…

        1. John Hobbs

          I carry video cams all the time, Bill. I have seen too many incidents that go south because the perps, often police, know that they are invisible to the public. I have been saved from scams by my dash cam on three occasions now. I advise everyone to be prepared to record these kinds of  encounters.

        2. Alan Miller

          I, too, agree with WM.

          I carry video cams all the time . . . the perps, often police, know that they are invisible to the public.

          JH, 1980 called and wants it’s video cameras back.  What world are you living in where perps and/or police believe they are invisible to the public?  Is that why people try to confiscate and/or knock video cameras out of people hands?  I think everyone is aware of the ‘everyone has a cell phone with video’ phenom.

        3. Bill Marshall

          And, I acknowledge JH… Dad taught me ‘belt and suspenders’…

          A video cam would have helped my white son at least twice… re: police interactions… once he and his white buddy were pulled over for a bank robbery, that all witnesses said was done by a pair of black males, different body morphs as well… would have helped me 10 X more in encounters with non-PD interactions… I hate to think everyone carrying video cams is the ‘new normal’… but we may be trending that way… more is the pity.

          But I also appreciate affirmations made about this being (now that I think more) a “tempest in a pee-cup”… out of proportion to real issues… or real life…

          BTW, when KO and AM affirm something I post, at the same time… sure sign of the end of the world… or, truth being told…

           

        4. Tia Will

          Bill

          “To me, nothing in the article suggested Dr. Lam was being “passive-aggressive”. To me. he was being entirely defensive. Defensive of his own right to be where he was, doing what he was without progressive harassment from others. For me, it comes down to who had the right to be where they were. From the information presented, I would say all three of them equally.

           

  6. Edgar Wai

    Is ‘Karened’ a term that Dr. Lam used to describe the situation? (Quoting a term used by him)

    Or a term that Vanguard adds for the headline? (Quoting a term the Vanguard tries to introduce to the reader)

  7. Ron Oertel

    Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to directly confront anyone (even in a “friendly” manner), if you think they’re “suspicious”.

    That’s what the police are for.  And most likely, dispatchers will ask a series of questions regarding what you see, in order to assess the situation (and to determine the appropriate level of response).

    This is pretty much how Zimmerman got himself in trouble – not listening to the dispatcher. (Something along the lines of, “we don’t need you to do that”).

    1. John Hobbs

      “Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to directly confront anyone (even in a “friendly” manner), if you think they’re “suspicious”.”

      But of course the intent was to assert privilege.

      “This is pretty much how Zimmerman got himself in trouble”

      What trouble, he walked away. Trayvon Martin died.

      Pretty skewed view.

      1. Ron Oertel

        From the photos (as I recall), Zimmerman appeared to have gotten the hell beaten out of him.

        And then faced trial (and national outrage).

        If I’m not mistaken, the cell-phone records noted that Martin observed a “cracker” following him.  Turns out that Zimmerman was (partially?) of Hispanic heritage (as I recall), so perhaps that moniker and your claim of “privilege” is not accurate regarding that situation.

        Since we’re talking about the best way to respond, that’s what I addressed.

        1. John Hobbs

          “Since we’re talking about the best way to respond, that’s what I addressed.”

          Nope you’re just rationalizing the murder of a young man by a thug.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Show me where I said that (or even implied it – in any way, shape or form).

          And while you’re at it, explain how the situation in this article has anything to do with “privilege”.

      2. Alan Miller

        But of course the intent was to assert privilege.

        If the pre-recorded account was as stated, I think the intent may have backfired.  As outcomed, the women self-asserted that she was either racist or deranged or both.

      3. Bill Marshall

        JH… for the record, Zimmerman got himself into trouble, twice… probably (?) both times wearing his fantasy ‘super-hero undies’… “only” one unforgiveable  (IMO) death… but he managed to ‘skate’… he is a jerk and a murderer, regardless of juries… OJ, same… different on details, but same/similar… there is ‘white privilege’ and ‘black famous athlete privilege’?  Smells the same…

    2. Tia Will

      Ron,

      In theory, I would agree with you but it is highly variable with index of suspicion and the difference between “confront” and ‘greet’. Since retiring, I spend a lot of time reading on my front porch. In my neighborhood, we have a well-known avid gardener, an individual who operates a pandemic appropriate home business, several student co-ops and are on a walkable route to the train station. Often people get confused or lost on their way to their destination and look around trying to orient themselves. If I called the police on everyone I thought might not “belong” here, they might as well station an officer here. Instead, my usual opener is, “You look lost. Can I help you”?  I think a pleasantry will beat an accusation every time.

      This also brings up an issue addressed in a recent article I read. Sorry I don’t recall the source. The issue is: who owns our public walks, streets, sidewalks, and open spaces. Unless you are in a gated, posted community, or on someone’s private property, my response is all of us, equally. And that should be our working premise when addressing someone we do not know.

       

       

       

      1. Ron Oertel

        In theory, I would agree with you but it is highly variable with index of suspicion and the difference between “confront” and ‘greet’. Since retiring, I spend a lot of time reading on my front porch.

        For some people (not you), that appears to be the time that they start “noticing” too much around the neighborhood!  (Semi-kidding.)

        Often people get confused or lost on their way to their destination and look around trying to orient themselves. If I called the police on everyone I thought might not “belong” here, they might as well station an officer here. Instead, my usual opener is, “You look lost. Can I help you”?  I think a pleasantry will beat an accusation every time.

        There is a difference between being suspicious of someone, vs. thinking they’re lost.  You do have a point, in that even if they’re “up to no good”, your approach probably wouldn’t create a problem.  Your neighborhood might also be “busier” than most, with more strangers passing through.

        But again, police (generally) encourage citizens to reach out to them, if they’re suspicious of someone.  I understand that dispatchers will then ask questions, to help them determine the appropriate level of response.  (Sometimes, those questions might even encourage the caller to reconsider exactly what he or she is reporting.) And if you call the police very frequently, I believe they take that into consideration in their response.

        This also brings up an issue addressed in a recent article I read. Sorry I don’t recall the source. The issue is: who owns our public walks, streets, sidewalks, and open spaces. Unless you are in a gated, posted community, or on someone’s private property, my response is all of us, equally. And that should be our working premise when addressing someone we do not know.

        Technically, I think that property owners (sometimes) “own” the sidewalks, but the public has an easement.  Regardless, that is not an issue regarding what you’re referring to.  (Though perhaps some “feel” differently.)

        Some people don’t like it when you park in front of their house, either.  One time, someone in an upscale Davis neighborhood put a note on my older vehicle, asking me not to park there anymore.  (I only did so occassionally, in that neighborhood.)  Rather than piss them off, I actually tried to avoid doing so from that point forward.  (They claimed in their note that they were trying to sell their house.)

         

      2. Ron Oertel

        As a side note, I parked in that neighborhood again (more recently, but on a different street) and immediately attracted “attention” – some of it from a distance.  Maybe some combination of my vehicle, and myself.  (It appears to be a neighborhood where everyone knows who “belongs” there.)

        No one called the police on me, but I felt uncomfortable, and wondered if my vehicle might be towed as a result of some parking restriction that I might not be aware of, but is put in place to discourage outsiders from parking there. 

        (As a side note, I recall that one of the neighbors who obviously noticed me was not white.)

        1. Ron Oertel

          No, but I don’t feel particularly “fragile” regarding this issue.

          I might feel “fragile” if I parked in parts of Oakland, Richmond, or Stockton, though. So would your young doctor friend, most likely. Might not even have a chance to film anyone (or retain ownership of his cell phone).

          Go ahead and cite any relevant points, if you’d like.

        2. Alan Miller

          As a side note, have you read White Fragility, yet?

          RO, if you hadn’t heard, it’s ‘required reading’ of all white people . . . according to a certain type of white person.

          Thank God I’m Jewish.

        3. Alan Miller

          No, but I don’t feel particularly “fragile” regarding this issue.

          Fragile isn’t something you ‘feel’, it’s something progressives label you as feeling.

          Judge not, lest ye be judged, unlest ye be progressive.  Their God, Chris, gives them a pass.

        4. Keith Olsen

          RO, if you hadn’t heard, it’s ‘required reading’ of all white people . . . according to a certain type of white person.

          Sounds to me like the Fragility book should come in several different colors.

           

        5. Ron Oertel

          Fragile isn’t something you ‘feel’, it’s something progressives label you as feeling.

          I’m (almost) curious enough to read that book, just to know what this refers to.  Maybe David can provide a summary.

          But already, the synopsis that I found and posted a link to seems to be off-base, and I didn’t “feel” any fragility (or defensiveness) in reading it.

           

      3. Alan Miller

        In my neighborhood, we have a well-known avid gardener, an individual who operates a pandemic appropriate home business, several student co-ops and are on a walkable route to the train station.

        Don’t forget about the loon with the big cactus.

      4. Bill Marshall

         I think a pleasantry will beat an accusation every time.

        Not… but you are absolutely correct in making the former the FIRST MOVE… after that, if ignored or rebuffed… sorry, I’m going with the second option… call it a moral/mental defect… but pleasantries alone can come to horrible outcomes, depending on the individual, and time, place and manner…

        There are situations where pleasantries will de-escalate… thee are times when those are no damn good, and you have to go to fight or flight… been in both types of situations…

    3. Alan Miller

      – not listening to the dispatcher.

      I have several times gone against the suggestions of the dispatcher.  I know they have to say that stuff, but often the perps are going to get away if someone doesn’t follow them.  I’m never going to confront dangerous perps though, that is stupid.

      1. Bill Marshall

        but often the perps are going to get away if someone doesn’t follow them.  I’m never going to confront dangerous perps though, that is stupid.

        Right on both counts… two good rules to live by… particularly the latter…

  8. Robert Canning

    Seems like it might be useful to get a fuller picture via the DPD body cams. Memory is faulty, especially when emotionally charged as it seems in this case.

    But, folks want to weigh in before all the info is available. Why even print the story now rather than Monday or Tuesday when the cam video is available (if I read it right)?

    But commenters (myself included) are quick to make judgments and assumptions based on partial info.

    I am reminded of Homer Simpson’s reaction when he had to wait three days for his gun: “But I’m angry NOW!”

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Unfortunately there is no guarantee that body camera footage would be made public in a case like this (I always ask for it). Even in a shooting, they have 45 days to turn it over.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Seems like it might be useful to get a fuller picture via the DPD body cams.

      To what purpose?  Voyeurism?  Posturing?  Righteous indignation? It should be over and done with… as another poster has posited, “where is the crime?”  [If being a jerk is, or becomes, a crime, or same for over-reacting to jerks, better double the criminal justice system, from PD’s and including the Courts.]

      I admit to a small amount of ‘voyeurism’ on this, and might even watch the video if and when it becomes available (and I hope it does not)… but the incident is de minimus, and should be treated as such…

      It sounds like PD ‘de-escalated’, but I guess one person’s de-escalation, is another person’s ‘federal case’…

      1. Alan Miller

        If being a jerk is, or becomes, a crime, or same for over-reacting to jerks, better double the criminal justice system, from PD’s and including the Courts.

        Not necessary.  On social media, being a jerk (possibly a racist) IS a crime, punishable by sharing with the jerks employer, who then fires the jerk so not to be seen as condoning the jerk’s behavior.

        It sounds like PD ‘de-escalated’, but I guess one person’s de-escalation, is another person’s ‘federal case’…

        That’s my preliminary ruling too, but I’m open to changing my mind as more comes out.

        BTW, has anyone done a welfare check on ‘Davis Karen’?

    3. Alan Miller

      a fuller picture via the DPD body cams.

      Are body cams even on when there’s just a conversation, not an ‘incident’?  I honestly don’t know the answer.

      Homer Simpson’s reaction when he had to wait three days for his gun: “But I’m angry NOW!”

      A Classic!

  9. Ron Oertel

    Hey, so what do you all think of this being described as a “Karen” incident?

    I watched it once (some time ago), and couldn’t help but wonder why the guy followed her home (and confronted her) over a traffic incident in the first place. Regardless of skin color, wouldn’t that concern any normal person?

    But honestly, what’s with the hysterics?  You’d think that (once she realized that the guy wasn’t dangerous, and was just trying to embarrass her) that she would almost laugh at the situation.  Go ahead and film – who cares?  It was a traffic altercation, that the guy is trying (unsuccessfully) to make into a racial situation.

    If anyone tried to film me, I’m pretty sure that the results would be uninteresting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=6_fJW1xRtmw&feature=emb_logo

      1. Ron Oertel

        Yeah, I didn’t want to watch it a second time.

        But as a “Karen” attempt, it was a failure.

        Why am I suddenly thinking of the water-bucket “challenge”, from a few years back?

    1. Edgar Wai

      “But honestly, what’s with the hysterics?”

      That looks like Anti-social personality disorder. Basically they are incapable of remorse. When they are accused of wrong doing, they frantically create an alter reality. They are deceitful and routinely lie.

      The condition is a how humans are both with, and is normally suppressed when moral circuit is developed in childhood. If a person fails to get their moral circuit developed in childhood, they remain like this in adulthood. There is no known way to fix it.

      It is a waste of time trying to “confront” them or trying to explain that they are lying or that they are wrong. They can’t change how their brain protect themselves by recreating reality in their mind.

      Apparently some research estimated that 2% of the population is like this.

       

      What is more important is that police officers and just must be aware of this condition so that they can routinely identify them as incredible witnesses. They lie in court and judges believe them.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      The issue is whether they would have called the police on or questioned a white person. Or would immediately engage with an accusation – you don’t belong here. I’ve often done the same thing he is doing in many different places and I have never been asked what I’m doing or told I don’t belong there.

      1. Alan Miller

        I’ve often done the same thing he is doing in many different places and I have never been asked what I’m doing or told I don’t belong there.

        And from 2008-2013 in the same location, never happened to Lam either.  It has, however, happened to me – in Davis.

        A few years back, I had a very disturbing incident, where I was questioned about what I was doing by what I thought was a cop in a very police-car-looking vehicle (it was very dark where this occurred, and ‘what I was doing’ was ‘chilling in my car’ in a peaceful spot near downtown that I visit often and have for over 40 years).  It turned out it was a security guard (of a ‘different’ so-called ‘race’ than I, if that matters – I think what matters is he was a j@ck@ass).  I gave the guy some lip when I realized he wasn’t a cop and was just hassling me, and he apparently called the real cops on me for ‘appearing suspicious’.

        This resulted in a very scary police stop for me several minutes later, because I thought it was a traffic stop and the solo cop thought they were potentially dealing with a criminal and came out like I was armed and were screaming orders at me that I couldn’t hear through my closed windows.  About the most terrifying few minutes I’d ever been through, but I just stayed still because I was concerned that I might be shot if I made a wrong move.  When I finally was in a conversation with the officer I de-escalated it, and the whole thing went away.  It was probably just before body cams, darn, it might be interesting footage.

        (As “racial reference” for the above incident, I am Jewish, but appear so-called ‘white’ to some, but have also been asked by one or more people from the following groups if I am:  Native American, Indian, Persian and Mexican – so take your pick as to how I racially ‘appear’ (though no one has ever asked me if I am black or Asian).

        The race of the j@ck@ss will not be given, but I will say I identify him as not so-called ‘white’.

        1. Alan Miller

          My point, if it wasn’t clear, is it’s not always about race.  The Lam incident very well could have been about race.  As you say, would they have called the police if it were a ‘white’ person?   Possibly, even probably, not.  But I’m just not sure we do a service jumping to race as the reason before that is known.   Had I been, for example, black, Latino or Asian, and the j@ck@ss was so-called ‘white’, and the incident I described above had occurred, would you (and perhaps I), not have concluded that it was a racially-based incident?

        2. Bill Marshall

          Thank you Alan, for ‘sharing’… for reals… gets to the issue of ‘acting under color (pun unintended) of authority’, or the “wannabes” who threaten and/or report others, under the ‘color of authority’ they wanna‘ have… hard to deal with the latter… they are jerks or jerk*&&’s… no law agin’ it… it is what it is… and we each have to decide how we react to ‘bullies’… I react one way if they are carrying a weapon, another if they aren’t… diametrically different.

        3. Ron Oertel

          When I finally was in a conversation with the officer I de-escalated it, and the whole thing went away. 

          Note the key word here, “I”.  Suggesting that it’s not only the police who can help de-escalate the situation.

          Years ago, I rented a moving truck (with a loose side mirror).  The truck was very noisy, with loose steering.

          Unbeknownst to me, a highway patrolwoman had apparently been attempting to pull me over due to claimed weaving within the lane.  I became aware of her presence, when she pulled up beside me.

          I pulled over, and was immediately treated with hostility and suspicion.  My partner then got out of the truck (a big mistake, apparently) and was ordered back into the truck in a very aggressive manner.

          Since I had already explained that I did not see this law enforcement officer, and could not hear the (apparent) earlier attempt to pull me over, I was surprised that this didn’t de-escalate the situation.  I *may* have “looked” annoyed when she yelled at my partner for getting out of the truck, and that was apparently enough for the officer to order me to put my hands on my head.

          The situation ultimately de-escalated, due to the involvement of the “backup” officer, among other things. But for awhile, I was actually becoming somewhat scared – for doing nothing wrong that I could see.

          Later, I heard from someone else that the highway (505) was sometimes used by drug runners (perhaps in moving trucks, not sure).

  10. Tia Will

    Ron,

    In theory, I would agree with you but it is highly variable with index of suspicion and the difference between “confront” and ‘greet’. Since retiring, I spend a lot of time reading on my front porch. In my neighborhood, we have a well-known avid gardener, an individual who operates a pandemic appropriate home business, several student co-ops and are on a walkable route to the train station. Often people get confused or lost on their way to their destination and look around trying to orient themselves. If I called the police on everyone I thought might not “belong” here, they might as well station an officer here. Instead, my usual opener is, “You look lost. Can I help you”?  I think a pleasantry will beat an accusation every time.

    This also brings up an issue addressed in a recent article I read. Sorry I don’t recall the source. The issue is: who owns our public walks, streets, sidewalks, and open spaces. Unless you are in a gated, posted community, or on someone’s private property, my response is all of us, equally. And that should be our working premise when addressing someone we do not know.

    explain how the situation in this article has anything to do with “privilege”.

     

     

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      I responded to most of this, above.

      Regarding “privilege”, we don’t know with certainty what was said, or in its entirety.  This lady apparently lives in an apartment, and not in a mega-mansion in Davis.  Hopefully, the young doctor will (ultimately) live a more privileged life than she might have.

      Clearly, no one should tell anyone else that they “don’t belong” in a neighborhood, if that’s what was said.  Nor should they be asking questions such as those that are claimed, here.

      It also seems to me that this entire phenomenon generally impacts African-Americans, far more than Asians.  Depending upon the political argument put forth, Asians are often included in the “people of no color” group, along with whites (and George Zimmerman, apparently). Seems like group membership is rather “fluid”, at times.

       

  11. Bill Marshall

    Let’s look at the topic of ‘Karening’… am I ‘Karening’, when I note another driver has a brake light ‘out’, and if they are near my path of travel, I briefly follow them, and politely ask them if they knew? And suggesting that if one bulb is out they should consider replacing both?  I always considered that ‘neighborly’… am I ‘racially’ ‘Karening’, when I observe a gardener (Asian female), on the way back and forth to their truck, stopping to glean CRV materials from the recycling next door to the house they  are ‘serving’, and politely point out that is contrary to City ordinance? [she ignored, except to glare, and did it in front of two more houses… so, I called Recology, and they indicated they would have a supervisor try to make contact to explain the rules]

    This ‘Karening’ thing seems to be an ambiguous, personally (as opposed of objectively) charged term, that appears to take on a linguistic life of its own…

    1. Alan Miller

      WM, In response . . . no, you are no Karening . . . if you would have done the same thing for the same crime were the person so-called ‘white’.  The real question is . . . how could someone outside your head (or even inside your head) ever know this?

      1.  I followed to get a license number and called the cops on a woman who was taking recycling out our trash cans every trash day for months.  [she was black, I would have done the same if she was white, or male].  Our concern wasn’t about the recycling, but that she might also be taking paper for the purpose of identity theft.  Also, we’d asked her several times to stop the practice, but she kept coming.

      2.  I followed and got the license number of a carload of young men that sped down our semi-dead-end street and smashed into a van causing severe damage (mostly to their car).  [they were Latino, I would have done the same if they were white, or female]

      3.  I reported to the cops a carload of young men who were partying next to my house and ‘acting suspicious’.  A few minutes later they tore off S-ing out-of-control up our street, smashing into three parked vehicles in the process, causing severe damage.  [They were so-called ‘white’.  I would have also reported them if they weren’t so-called ‘white’ or male]

      4.  I followed a pickup truck at high speeds across the Causeway and caught up to it to get the license number, after the occupants had loaded numerous bicycles into the bed from our neighborhood and drove off.  [They were Latino, I would have done the same if they were so-called ‘white’ or women].

      5.  I monitored the railroad for months when perps were placing dumpsters on the tracks that were  getting hit by trains and flying 100’s of feet (kind of like a giant game of croquet).  I finally caught them in the act and chased them across the tracks while on the phone with the police dispatcher, guiding the cops to where they were running, and they were apprehended.  [It was dark and I have no idea what so-called ‘race’ they were, but I would have done the same if they were of a different ‘race’].

      6.  I called the cops numerous times on various meth-head-hoarder-bike-thief-up-all-night-illegal-camping-trespassing types (also defined by some as the so-called ‘homeless’) for numerous incidents during April and May when they were out-of-control in nearby encampments.  [Most of them were males and so-called ‘white’.  I would have done the same if most were women (some were) or not so-called ‘white’ (some were not)].

      Point is, I call the cops on criminal behavior, and I don’t give a rats patootie what race or sex they are.  I’m equal-opportunity when it comes to saying:  “f@ck you”.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Alan… appears you and I think alike for those situations… don’t mean to ‘scare’ you, but we appear to be on the same page… it is the behavior of the individual, not the individual’s identity, that we react to…

        Yet, some would accuse one or both of us of implicit or unconscious bias… yeah, right…

        1. Alan Miller

          I don’t doubt that we all have bias, and I think some are more aware of their own biases and willing to work on them than others.  My objection is to those who attempt to label another’s actions as clearly racially motivated, in a situation in which they cannot factually know this.

  12. Bill Marshall

    Oh… think I answered my own question via internet….

    If this source can be viewed as credible,

    https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/karen/

    ‘Karen’ or ‘Karening’ could be seen as a racist, sexist, ageist term… an interesting read, in any case…

    Perhaps it has no place in VG “reporting” (?)…  another poster has questioned the term, and am tending to agree with the questioning…

    It could become the “K-word”….

    1. Keith Olsen

      Since it’s mostly directed at older white women the pejorative term seems to be allowable by those who usually try to cancel such words.

    2. Alan Miller

      It could become the “K-word”….

      I’m guessing you’re not Jewish, because it you were you’d have it high in your consciousness that there already is a “K-word”.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Ooops… as soon as I read that, yeah… I very seldom heard it, so was not in RAM… had to use my brain’s hard drive… mea culpa… [yeah, you could use the C-word, but don’t think you will]

        Yet, the purposes of the terms, to classify/denigrate others is same-same… still, all jerks, some more dangerous than others… at the very least, very annoying and non-productive…

        How about the “k2.0-word”?   [see grinning, winking emoticon]

  13. Sharla Cheney

    I dared to suggest that this could all be a big misunderstanding and suggested that it be arranged to all get together as neighbors and try to talk it out, since they all live in the same apartment complex and need to resolve it somehow and get along. I was immediately labeled a racist and just another “Karen.”  I don’t think this guy is looking for any sort of resolution and is not thinking objectively about what happened.    Maybe his parents could meet with the neighbors and they all could work through this.  Maybe the whole Davis community could gain from this.

    1. Alan Miller

      I dared to suggest  . . .   I was immediately labeled a racist and just another “Karen.”

      I’m confused . . . in what context did you suggest this and who labeled you?  This appears to be the first post you’ve made on the subject.  Was an earlier post deleted?  Was this on another social media?  Do you know the people involved?  Are you neighbors with them?  This has no context.

        1. Sharla Cheney

          Yes.  His responses were that I was “unreasonable.” His friends were more explicit and accusatory.  There is a lot of anger and hurt and everything is painted with that brush.

        2. Keith Olsen

          Sharla, your suggestions sounded very reasonable.

          I’m sorry you were “labeled a racist and just another “Karen”, that wasn’t right.

        3. Alan Miller

          I was immediately labeled a racist and just another “Karen.”

          His friends were more explicit and accusatory.

          This is vile.

          Let me be clear:  I consider labeling someone a racist to be as vile as being a racist.  You may argue or disagree, but that is a solid reals for me. 

          I recently ended a long-time friendship over a friend labeling another friend as a racist and spreading this accusation widely in our community.

          A few years back I got caught up in a heated conversation, in this very forum perhaps, and insinuated that another commenter may be racist.  This stuck with me, as I realized I had no evidence of this.  I knew I had to apologize to this person, and one day I saw them and walked up to them and did so.  My insinuation was vile and unfounded.  Thankfully, they accepted my apology.  They also let me know things about them that showed me just how off base that insinuation was.

          If you call me a racist, you had better have the evidence to back that up, because you might as well call me a k*ke, and you’re going to get the same reaction.

        4. Keith Olsen

          Let me be clear:  I consider labeling someone a racist to be as vile as being a racist.  You may argue or disagree, but that is a solid reals for me. 

          I agree.  That’s the automatic go to vile pejorative term these days for the left.

          They use it so much it’s losing its effectiveness, like crying wolf.

          I sometimes think the true racists are those who call others racist.

           

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            ” I consider labeling someone a racist to be as vile as being a racist. You may argue or disagree, but that is a solid reals for me. ”

            What if they are a racist? (Not referring to anyone here, just in the general).

        5. Keith Olsen

          What if they are a racist? (Not referring to anyone here, just in the general).

          Then they should be called out.

          But David, are you willing to admit that the term is way overused when it shouldn’t apply?  Take Sharla’s example above.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I think it’s underused. The only quesiton is whether you believe someone was treated differently due to their race and whether you want to call that racism.

            Now one thing I do think is that we tend to look at individual interactions too much and ignore systemic racism – which is the bigger driver here.

        6. Alan Miller

          What if they are a racist? (Not referring to anyone here, just in the general).

          Certainly not anyone here!

          • But David, are you willing to admit that the term is way overused when it shouldn’t apply?

          • I think it’s underused.

          I believe we have found our dividing point.

          Take Sharla’s example above.

          Note:  the question above referred to SC’s experience of being labeled.  DG, U did not respond to that question about the specific accusation.

          The only quesiton is whether you believe someone was treated differently due to their race and whether you want to call that racism.

          So the “you” in the above is who exactly – anyone?  Isn’t that going to cause deep problems, allowing anyone and everyone the authority to be judge, jury and labeling executioner?

          I have seen the enemy and it is Facebook.

          Now one thing I do think is that we tend to look at individual interactions too much and ignore systemic racism – which is the bigger driver here.

          This story is about an individual interaction.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            My comment was not about the specific accusation, it was a general comment.

        7. Keith Olsen

          LOL, well okay, since I’m “waiting moderation”,

          I’ll reword my comment.

          Well, that answers KO’s question.

          David rarely ever gives ground, he often prefers to just dodge questions.

  14. Alan Miller

    Alan… did you end up doing your ride-by?  Curious as to your impressions, if you did…

    • Alan C. Miller reporting from Moore Village •

    I had some errands to run at Oak Tree Plaza, so I swung over to Moore to get an on-the-ground feel for the story.

    When I got into the neighborhood, the first person I passed was a, um . . . presumably Asian woman.  Was she on a cell phone?  No, she was walking a small dog.  As I got into Moore Village, a sign stated that it was a “Mutual Housing Community”.  What is that?  But thanks for letting me know!

    The place has two-story apartments arranged around a circular access-way with a community area with laundromats & grass & stuff on a center island.  There were people about.  The enclosed circle detached from the street and the openness gave it the sense of community-by-design that is lacking is most apartment complexes.  Anyone could look out their window and see the large central community circle.  I circled around several times with dark sunglasses, attempting to look suspicious; maybe I’d lure out a Ken or a Karen.

    A pair of presumably Latino women walked out to a car.  A presumably white woman was working in her yard.  On the other side, another pair of presumably Latino women were walking.  I circled twice more, went down a dead end path, doubled-back, and took a back path out to another streer.  On the way out there were several other women out walking together or walking a dog.  All but one group were presumably Asian, the other pair was presumably white.  I saw no men the entire time I was in the area.

    Writing the above paragraph kind of sickens me.  I went there to get a feel for this story on racism, and all I saw was race, race, racity, race-race-race.  Normally, I may perhaps notice or store perceptions of what I noted of people regarding multiple parameters, and maybe I could recall, but in this context, what I saw people’s race, up front and center in consciousness.   I felt like I’d been poisoned.

    Moore Village seems like the kind of place where people would look out for each other and know their neighbors.  If one were suspicious of people-of-color as such in this area, their head would explode.  Circling, I got to wondering:

    Was there a recent incident here that was causing people to be hyper-alert?
    Did the so-called Karen have a recent traumatic incident, or one in her past, that triggered her behavior?

    This reporter left without definitive answers . . . perhaps WM can follow up with his impressions should he also do a site visit.

    [Referring to visiting Moore Village] I might tomorrow, but not sure I know the exact/precise location… might bring a cam (and show it off)  just to see if a middle-aged white guy gets a ‘reaction’ from the locals…

    WM, you’ll have to work harder than I, as my feeble attempt didn’t seem to raise an eyebrow.

    I know that apartment complex and some of the paths are very close to the apartments, especially on the back side next to the creek.

    KO, not sure you are thinking of the same place.  There was no creek anywhere nearby, sans a shallow storm-runoff ditch with no outlet along the east side.

    1. Bill Marshall

      I went there to get a feel for this story on racism, and all I saw was race, race, racity, race-race-race.  Normally, I may perhaps notice or store perceptions of what I noted of people regarding multiple parameters, and maybe I could recall, but in this context, what I saw people’s race, up front and center in consciousness.   I felt like I’d been poisoned.

      Reminds me of an old story… sounds rabbinical, and/or wise…

      About an old man at a crossroad, and a traveller asked the old man, ‘what are the folk in the next town like?’  Old man asked him how he found the people in the town he came from… old man said, “you’ll find them the same”… longer story but that is the essence…

      In science, it is said that the act of/manner of, observation may affect what is being observed…

      I’ll wait for a cooler day to do my ‘walk-about’… perhaps I should “dress-up” as a homeless guy… with right clothes, mussing hair, mumbling to myself, I “might pass”… will be sure to carry ID, and if confronted by officers, say I know the Chief, he knows me, worked with his Mom (who had a delicious sense of warped humor!  Fit with mine like a glove…), and his sister knows me…

      I assumed, from the narrative, that it was the Apt complex @ NE corner of Pole Line/Moore (adjacent to a condo project, which I’ve heard is primarily rentals)… only other one I know of is a bit east of the roundabout… an affordable housing site… there is a drainage ditch just on the north side of the former… not the latter…

      1. Alan Miller

        In science, it is said that the act of/manner of, observation may affect what is being observed…

        Act and manner, including “from a biased brain”.  That was science, folks.

        I’ll wait for a cooler day to do my ‘walk-about’…

        It’s not a hot day.  High of 90°, 13° cooler than yesterday.

        perhaps I should “dress-up” as a homeless guy… with right clothes, mussing hair, mumbling to myself, I “might pass”…

        To truly attempt to duplicate the event, you’d have to appear much more respectable, and use makeup to dress up in X-face, where X denotes a pigmentation.  Let me say I would highly advise against doing that.

        will be sure to carry ID, and if confronted by officers, say I know the Chief, he knows me, worked with his Mom (who had a delicious sense of warped humor!  Fit with mine like a glove…), and his sister knows me…

        Is that like, ‘I know the Police Chief’ privilege?

        I assumed, from the narrative, that it was the Apt complex @ NE corner of Pole Line/Moore

        I Googled “Moore Village”, the name given in the article.

  15. Moderator

    Hi folks,

    The answer to the question “Why is this comment awaiting moderation” will always be “so it can be reviewed.” Don’t bother asking. Your question will also be pulled.

    Don

  16. John Hobbs

    Watching the “Ken” video it is all the more obvious that those folks and the police who did not do their duty need education. The US constitution is not advisory, it’s the law.

    1. Ron Oertel

      It’s not illegal to ask someone what they’re doing, or even to say “you don’t belong here”.

      It’s also not illegal to refuse to respond.

      Following the woman up to her door, suggesting that she call the police reminds me of the cartoon in which Bugs fools Daffy (repeatedly) into “demanding” that Elmer shoots him – under various misuse of “pronouns”.

      To which Elmer complies, repeatedly.

      The difference being that the cartoon is amusing.

  17. John Hobbs

    Seems like the chief did a good job of reviewing the video(s) and made some sound assessments. Would like to know if he or the officers informed the “karens” of the legal right to record in public, though. I believe some first amendment auditing is going to be done in Yolo county over the next week or so. Perhaps we’ll see some more on this issue.

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