Defense Suggests Man Racially Profiled – Case Dismissed After Prosecutor Admits Wrong Defendant

By Mary Magana-Ayala

SACRAMENTO, CA – The prosecution here in Sacramento County Superior Court this week admitted in open court that law enforcement had the wrong man, and a defense attorney suggested the man was racially profiled—the judge dismissed all charges.

In the preliminary hearing of Dion Lewis, charged with discharging a firearm that could have resulted in the injury or death of a person, the case was dismissed because video evidence simply did not match him, other than he was a Black male with dreadlocks and facial hair.

“His forehead is more like a fivehead, a lot bigger than Mr. Lewis. I don’t know how you can change hairstyle to move the hairline,” said Judge James P. Arguelles after viewing the surveillance video and noted that the subject in the video did not match the defendant at all. 

Defense Attorney Jay Dyer noted that the only reason his client was a potential subject was because he matched the characteristics of a Black male, with dreadlocks, and having facial hair.

Deputy District Attorney Chelsea Givens called Deputy Aaron Jacobson to the stand, who said he responded in June 2020 to a call about shots fired at an apartment complex in Sacramento county. 

He said his partner had spoken to the witnesses at the scene who stated they saw two females in a fight, when a Black male adult arrived on scene, pulled out a gun, and fired it into the air to break up the altercation. They described the subject as a Black male with dreadlocks. 

He also stated that they were able to obtain surveillance footage from a Ring camera located at the front of the apartment complex, where he saw the fight between the two females, and a Black male with dreadlocks and distressed jeans appear and pull out a firearm and shoot it in the air. 

In the cross-examination of Deputy Jacobson, Defense Attorney Dyer questioned if, on the deputy’s way to the scene, he already had Dion Lewis as a potential subject because of his relationship with one of the females in the altercation. 

Deputy Jacobson admitted, “Well, he was a possible subject.” 

Dyer presented the surveillance video that was captured by police, and compared the subject in the video to the defendant, and argued that the defendant was not the subject in the video. 

The defense attorney asked Jacobson, “In this picture, does the subject match the defendant?” to which Jacobson again admitted, “No, he looks different.”

“The nose doesn’t look the same, or the bottom of the face, but the hairline is immutable and there are several immutable characteristics that show it’s not Mr. Lewis,” argued Dyer. 

After long deliberation, DDA Chelsea Givens motioned to dismiss the case for insufficient evidence and stated that she had received a phone call from Deputy Jacobson who stated, after looking more into the case, there is another possible suspect. 

The case was dismissed and bail was exonerated. However, Dion Lewis still faces misdemeanor charges in another case. 

About The Author

Mary Magana-Ayala is a junior at UC Davis double majoring in Political Science and Chicano Studies. She is from Watsonville, California.

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