Davis Mayor Will Arnold on the Murder of Tyre Nichols

Special to the Vanguard

Mayor Will Arnold released the following statement:

The murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police is the latest in a series of horrifying incidents in our country. The use of excessive force and failing to intervene or render aid are crimes and should be punished as such.

This infuriating brutality is unacceptable. Our thoughts go out to Tyre’s family, friends and community. No person should ever go through such torture and no family should ever live with such anguish.

Public trust is paramount in our public safety system. The City of Davis and the City Council continue to prioritize initiatives and actions that work toward safeguarding this trust.

In 2006, and renewed again in 2018, the City Council created the role of our Independent Police Auditor to provide independent assessments of policies and practices, review use of force and make recommendations in our efforts to constantly evaluate and improve upon our delivery of police services. In 2019, the City Council created and appointed members to a new Police Accountability Commission to provide community-based accountability with members of the public and champion practices centered on justice and equity.

In 2021, the City Council approved the creation of a new Department of Social Services and Housing to focus on mental health and early intervention, among others, and adopted the Crisis Now model of addressing the behavioral health crisis continuum of care.

The Davis Police Department is committed to serving community members with dignity and respect for all human life. As noted in its statement, the Department’s officers are guided by the principle of reverence for human life in all investigative, enforcement and other contacts. The Department supports many additional initiatives and actions to help create an environment and culture of trust.

We know there is always more work to be done, as we continue our efforts to build transparency, engagement and shared safety for everyone in our community.

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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  1. Matt Williams

    Within the past week (not sure which day it was) I was driving down Second Street an at the corner of Cantrill there were four DPD cars all with light bars flashing with one young man sitting on the concrete curb, clearly the object of all that police attention.  I couldn’t help but wonder why such a massive show of force for such a seemingly limited threat to public safety.  Couldn’t DPD vehicles 4 and 3 have been more constructively been still out in our Davis neighborhoods helping residents?

    As long as the culture of the DPD, and its measurements of success, is oriented toward apprehending criminals rather than helping residents in need of help, we will be at risk of having an excessive aggression incident like the one in Memphis.

    We need to move Davis from a culture of policing crime to a culture of promoting public safety.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Couldn’t DPD vehicles 4 and 3 have been more constructively been still out in our Davis neighborhoods helping residents?

      Maybe so.

      One time, the timing chain guide suddenly snapped on my vehicle in Davis.  It was still drivable, but I could have used a roving “mechanic/police officer”.  Someone who carries a gun, AND a tool belt. (Of course, someone might have suggested the use of either of those instruments on the vehicle, at that point.)

      We need to move Davis from a culture of policing crime to a culture of promoting public safety.

      True – since I had to drive the vehicle rather slowly to the shop, perhaps I could have used a tow-truck driver/police officer, as well.

      I’m starting to like this idea, though I’d leave pizza delivery (uniquely) to the professionals.



        1. Ron Oertel

          There’s an underlying point to the comment – sorry that you can’t see it.

          I don’t think that Matt’s suggestion will work.

          Police exist to enforce the law.  As such, they’re going to focus on people breaking the law.  That’s their job. When you see a group of them (as Matt did), that’s usually due to someone perceived to be breaking the law. I don’t know their protocol regarding calling for backup.

          They’re generally not there to otherwise “help residents” who aren’t breaking the law. That’s what other professions are for.

          Though I believe that they’re trained to provide rudimentary/emergency health care assistance (e.g., CPR). And direct traffic as needed, etc. And I believe the Highway Patrol assists drivers with inoperative vehicles on the side of highways, to ensure that they’re out of harms’ way, and/or call for other assistance. (So in that sense, they sometimes do help those who aren’t breaking the law.)

        2. Matt Williams

          Ron, the underlying point is totally obscured by the insensitive glibness. Don is correct in the future you should refrain from glib commentary that you think is humorous on articles pertaining to tragic situations.

          Thank you Don for calling out this latest example of Ron’s recurring poor taste and insensitivity.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  I’m not commenting on the article itself.

          I’m responding to your comment. What other “jobs” do you have in mind for the police to simultaneously perform?

          How is my response to your comment in “poor taste” or otherwise “insensitive”?

        4. Matt Williams

          Ron, it isn’t taking on additional jobs, it is refocusing the efforts of all Public Safety employees on helping residents rather than responding to “incidents” of perceived law breaking and/or making arrests.

          Change the metrics of success to more closely match those of the City of Sunnyvale, CA.

        5. Ron Oertel

          Thanks for that brief explanation.

          Sounds like a good subject for an article.

          However, I don’t know how changing the metrics will stop people from stealing catalytic converters, for example.  Or beating people over the head to rob them (or simply to harm them).

          Most people in Davis don’t “need” help from the police to prevent them from doing that.  (The people engaging in that are probably/mostly “visitors” to Davis.)  That would also apply regarding Sunnyvale, no doubt. As such, changing the local police metrics wouldn’t stop that (and if anything, might result in more crime).

          Personally, I want the police to enforce traffic laws, as well. I don’t want people driving around without insurance, registration, smog checks, etc. And sorry to say, but if a group of young males is driving around at 3:00 a.m. for no apparent reason, they’re probably not out “collecting for the Red Cross” (to paraphrase Dirty Harry regarding a different movie incident). As such, they are going to (logically) draw more scrutiny – that’s just common sense.

          There seems to be an underlying premise regarding all of this that if people are “helped” more, then they won’t be out victimizing others.  Sounds nice, but I’m not sure if it’s true.


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