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Davis

Davis, California

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Alleged attack on Picnic Day sends two officers to hospital

IAN JONES / AGGIE FILE

Cell phone footage shows Davis Police officers fighting off crowd of people

Two police officers were sent to the hospital on April 26 for treatment of injuries sustained in an alleged attack on Russell Boulevard, despite special precautions taken during Picnic Day to ensure a safe campus experience. Three people who have been identified as non-UC Davis students were arrested in relation to the incident and there are numerous cell phone videos of the occurrence.

Three Davis Police officers were driving in an unmarked vehicle down Russell Boulevard when a crowd of people stopped the car from going further, according to a Davis Police Department press release.

One officer was wearing police attire with a visible badge and the other two were wearing plain clothes, although they had clearly displayed badges on their chests and visible police weapons,” the press release said. “At the time, Russell Blvd. was nearly gridlocked due to Picnic Day related traffic and many large parties occurring in the area. Due to the obvious safety hazards the group presented, the officers pulled near the group to take action.”

The police vehicle was allegedly surrounded by a group of people yelling threats at the three officers.

“As the officers exited the car and began to identify themselves as the police, two officers were immediately physically attacked by multiple suspects and beaten on the ground,” the press release said. “[…] As the officers were being assaulted, they could see people in the crowd filming the attack with their cell phones.”

The Davis Police Department maintains that the officers, while wearing plain clothes, had clearly visible police badges and acted within their rights as law enforcement. Two officers were taken to the Sutter Davis emergency room for treatment. One officer suffered damaged to his eye and face, while another was treated for head injuries after being hit in the head with a bottle.

While the Davis Police Department stands by this version of events, some individuals have called the account into question after video footage surfaced showing the officers fighting off the crowd.

“[An officer] laid on the horn and was yelling out the window, ‘Get the f*** off the street,’” said Isabel Lynch, a Sacramento resident and student at Sierra College in Rocklin who witnessed the alleged attack.

Lynch added that the officers were not immediately identifiable as police. She recalled watching the police officers exit the car and begin to engage the crowd.

“I did see one of the officers on the ground, and I saw one girl kicking one of the officers,” Lynch said. “A lot of it didn’t make sense. I think they were just reacting, and they reacted poorly.”

Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel disagrees with claims that the three officers involved were acting outside of their duty.

“There is screaming in the crowd that definitely indicates they knew they were the police,” Pytel said.

This was not the only incident of a breach in community safety on Picnic Day, as Davis police reported the arrest of a man who allegedly brandished a gun in downtown Davis. A crowd of individuals were also caught on tape vandalizing a woman’s car in East Davis as she was driving. Davis police had attempted to prepare for the influx of people by creating a Picnic Day Safety Enhancement Zone.

“The Safety Enhancement Zone increases fines for certain offenses to deter unlawful behavior,” said a press release from the Davis Police Department. “Fines are doubled for violations of open container laws, public urination, smoking and being drunk in public places.

Davis police ask that anyone with additional video footage or information regarding the incident involving the three police officers on Russell Boulevard contact their investigations unit at (530) 747-5400.

 

Written by: Samantha Solomon — city@theaggie.org

 

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