UC Davis Police are continuing their investigation of an alleged hate crime that occurred on May 12 near the UC Davis Arboretum. According to the UC Davis Police Department (UCDPD), neither the victim nor the suspects are UC Davis students.
The police report stated that the incident occurred when the victim was walking along Levee Road, and the suspects slowed down near the victim. The suspects then allegedly exited the vehicle, a burgundy Jeep SUV, and repeatedly assaulted the victim, physically and verbally with “sexual-orientation bias slurs.”
UCDPD Lt. Greg Murphy said the police are actively investigating the crime but can’t reveal too much information right now because it might jeopardize their search.
“We talked to the victim, victim’s father and one of the other people from the suspect’s car,” said UCDPD Sergeant Don Malloy. “The case is still open and we are investigating.”
Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and Mayor Joe Krovoza sent an email to the campus community addressing the crime.
“While such behavior is inconsistent with our values, so too, is silence or indifference in the face of such a crime,” the email stated. “As Chancellor of UC Davis and as Mayor of the City of Davis, we want everyone to know that our communities deplore crimes of bias and that we are speaking out to reassert our lack of tolerance for acts of hatred and bigotry.”
Partida case ruling
On March 10, Lawrence “Mikey” Partida was assaulted on I Street by Davis resident Clayton Garzon in an alleged hate crime.
Judge David Rosenberg of the Yolo County Superior Court ruled on May 21 that Garzon will stand trial for assault and hate crime allegations against Partida. Garzon is due back in court on June 7 for arraignment.
“They charged him for everything we wanted him charged for,” Partida said.
Judge Rosenberg said that there is a significant amount of evidence for the allegations made against Garzon.
“When considering all the evidence in this case, the court concludes… that the crimes committed in this case were based and motivated at least in part on bias against the sexual orientation of the victim,” Rosenberg said during the ruling on May 21, the final day of Garzon’s preliminary hearing.
The attack left Partida with a fractured skull, bleeding in his brain and many bruises on his face. Additionally, he needed surgery to remove a piece of wood lodged behind his eye.
According to The Davis Enterprise, defense attorney Linda Parisi argued that Garzon’s actions were not a result of bias.
“Obviously I’m very disappointed by the ruling,” Parisi said after the hearing. “Mr. Garzon has lived a life that has embraced diversity in all areas and specifically including one’s sexual orientation.”
Campus, city awareness and prevention
The UCDPD website states that they take hate crimes very seriously and have declared the campus a hate-free zone in accordance with the Hate-Free Campus Initiative from 2010. The initiative is a campuswide program with educational programs, training and activities designed to stop further acts of hate.
Elizabeth Krause, assistant director of the UC Davis Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center (LGBTRC), said hate crimes not only impact the victim, but also groups of people who share the identity of the person who was targeted.
“The argument in favor of hate crime ‘penalty enhancement’ statutes is that the criminal acts (violent acts) that are motivated by bias against someone because of an identity that they hold do not only victimize the persons in the actual incident, they also victimize entire groups of people who share the identity of the person who was targeted,” Krause said in an email.
Chucha Marquez, ASUCD Gender and Sexuality Commission chair, said in order to prevent acts like this from happening, the campus culture has to change.
“I think that much of the work that needs to be done to prevent things like this [from] happening on campus revolves around changing the culture of the campus, which is often homophobic,” Marquez said in an email. “I think ASUCD has a lot of resources available that can be utilized to spread awareness about the issues queer students face on campus and tips on being good allies to queer students.”
Krause said that at least once a week a student expresses feeling the impact of oppression in their lives in Davis. These experiences range from being stared at to more forceful acts of hate like hate language.
Marquez said the LGBTRC and ASUCD can offer spaces to build community and network because feeling supported by others and knowing there is a community to go to for help is very important.
Assistant Chief Darren Pytel of the Davis Police Department (DPD) said prevention begins at the community level.
“When hate crimes are reported to us, we publicize them so we can send out a strong message to the community,” Pytel said. “We work with student commissions, the city council and the community to emphasize tolerance and understanding.”
Update on double homicide
The DPD is also currently investigating the double homicide of Davis residents Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin.
Northup and Maupin were found stabbed to death in their South Davis residence after police showed up to perform a welfare check on April 14.
Their home at 4006 Cowell Blvd. remains a crime scene according to The Davis Enterprise.
Lt. Paul Doroshov said they have not made any arrests but are actively searching for leads. Davis Police have been working with the FBI, the State Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies.
“We will release info if we make an arrest for a case like this,” Doroshov said.
PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.