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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Student says Davis police used unnecessary force during arrest

UC Davis undergraduate Tatiana Bush is alleging police brutality in the case of the Tasering of her male friend, UC Davis student and mentee, by the Davis Police Department (DPD).

Police said they used a Taser on the male subject, who asked to remain unnamed in this article, after he repeatedly resisted arrest during an alleged fight between Bush and him on May 23 at Glacier Point Apartments in West Davis.

Bush, a fifth-year political science and sociology double major, acted as an ASUCD senator from 2010 to 2011. She is the student director for the African Diaspora Cultivating Education (ACE) and served on the Reynoso Task Force, which evaluated university policies in regard to the Nov. 18 pepper spraying incident.

Bush said she and the male subject weren’t fighting, but rather were having an emotional discussion. She also said the DPD two-day delay of a press release on the incident is very telling of what occurred that night, as she said it contained fabrications of the truth.

The investigation was prompted by a phone call from Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to the Mayor who was out of town. Then Katehi called Mayor Pro Temp Rochelle Swanson who began an investigation. The press release was released by the police after the call from Swanson.

Lt. Paul Doroshov of DPD said that press releases can’t come out right away, as they have to prepare reports and review the facts first. In addition, he said that he can’t comment further than the press release since the incident is still under investigation.

“[The male subject] was trying to hug me to calm me down, but I wouldn’t let him,” Bush said. “We were just standing in front of the Glacier Point office when police approached us and immediately started screaming at him to ‘come here, come here, come here.’ We were confused. As he walked toward the officer, the officer grabbed him and tried to detain him.”

Lt. Doroshov said police tried to separate the two to get statements regarding what happened, but that the male subject refused to follow the officer’s commands and became argumentative. According to the press release, when the officers attempted to physically detain the male subject, he resisted the officers by pushing them. Officers wrestled with him and were able to restrain and handcuff him, the release stated.

Barbara Bonaparte, a junior African American studies and human development double major and president of the UC Davis Black Student Union, is the male student’s roommate and was present during the incident. She said police gave no reasoning for the arrest.

Bush said she raised her hand and told police he wasn’t being aggressive and that they weren’t resisting arrest.

“They put him in the back of a police car,” she said. “Then they grabbed me by the neck and pushed me against a police car.”

Bonaparte said she witnessed Bush thrown against the police car, which Bush said resulted in massive bruises on her neck, jaw and wrists, along with a concussion.

According to the police press release, during the time officers were struggling to get the male subject under control, despite numerous requests for her to keep her distance, Bush interfered by physically placing herself in close proximity to the struggle.

Bush said while the male subject was in the car he asked about where his phone was, then three officers grabbed him, throwing him to the ground outside of the car. She said he tried to stand up and four officers tackled him to the ground near the Glacier Point sign, where he was then Tasered.

Police said while in the back seat of the patrol vehicle, the male subject escaped from his handcuffs, kicked the rear door open and assaulted one of the officers. He allegedly pushed the officer, and ultimately punched the officer in the face. The officers subdued him with a Taser, he release stated.

Bonaparte said the person she spoke with at the Yolo County Jail in Woodland lied when she asked if he was in jail since she later talked to Bush who said he was in custody.

Bush said the officer who drove her to the Davis Police Station was shocked that none of the officers took the time to ask her and the male subject what was happening.

“[The officer] told me: ‘This isn’t a racial thing. I have black friends. You seem like a down-to-earth kid,’” Bush said. “The most disgusting part of all this is that there were some white kids clapping on the side of the street during the arrest. You can’t tell me this isn’t a problem in Davis. I would never expect my peers to clap during brutalization by the police.”

Bonaparte said in addition to the clapping, bringing in more police cars, which totaled nine cars, only caused more of a scene.

According to the Yolo County Sheriff Department’s Public Information Officer Lance Faille, the male subject is facing a felony charge of violating California Penal Code 69. This code states that anyone who attempts to use threats or violence to prevent an officer from performing a duty is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment.

He also faces a misdemeanor charge of violating California Penal Code 243 by assaulting a police officer.

Bush faces a violation of California Penal Code 148 for interfering with an arrest, with a fine not exceeding $1,000 and/or prison time.

Bush said she took out $1,800 to fund the male subject’s release on a $20,000 bail. Bail bonds covered the rest.

“I can only imagine if this happened to someone who didn’t know Chancellor Katehi,” Bush said. “I’m glad this happened to me because I have the ability to do something. This is shit I’d never have expected as a college student, especially after what I’ve done for this campus.”

“Police in Davis don’t communicate with us or each other,” she said. “I think it’s very telling that coming off of the Reynoso Task Force, this is the next phase. It’s disgusting how they treat African American students and I won’t stand for such things; this can’t happen again.”

Bonaparte said her first encounter with police was during the Occupy protests and her impression of police in Davis was already not good. She said this recent experience was awful and her roommate has never been in any type of trouble.

The police said they have an audio and partial video recordings of the incident. Police urge witnesses to provide additional information and/or video recordings to the Professional Standards Unit at 747-5400. Lt. Doroshov said any time there’s force used greater than physically holding onto a subject there’s an automatic review.

Bush said she will be taking further action in regards to the incident.

The male subject’s court date is June 25 at 1:30 p.m. in Woodland.

ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

Editor’s note: this article was updated to reflect accurate information.


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