Local protesters attend public comment

ANH-TRAM BUI / AGGIE

‘Justice for the Picnic Day 5’ organizers make voices heard

On Nov. 14, the Davis City Council held its bi-weekly public comment session along with their general meeting. Among attendees at the comment session were the “Justice for the Picnic Day 5” movement, a protest group dedicated to defending the five men and women who were charged with felony assault of an officer after a fight that occurred on Picnic Day this past April. Several citizens attended the meeting, with 11 taking turns standing behind the podium to speak to the council.

“Maybe six months from now — or a year from now — we could have a system that could prevent incidents like this,” said William Kelly, a local activist, during the public comment session. “But what are you going to do about what’s happening right now? Paid consultants and independent investigators are a useful tool, but you are elected to govern.”

The brawl took place on Apr. 22, leaving two plainclothes officers injured. All five of the accused, ranging in age from 19 to 22, took a plea deal in September to avoid jail time and were forced to take part in a restorative justice program as a part of the plea.

“The issue of trust between the police and the community is very important to me,” said Joshua Gonzalez, a UC Davis law student and supporter of the movement. “It’s a really strong indicator of the health of the community.”

City Council and the Davis Police Department have taken measures to manage the police oversight issue such as hiring police oversight consultants.

“The city council has hired these consultants so that they can figure out what the best oversight plan is for the city,” said Stephanie Parreira, an organizer and spokeswoman for the Justice movement. “So because they’re trying to slowly work toward this oversight body that will eventually exist, they think they don’t need to do anything about these officers and they think they don’t need to do anything about picnic.”

The city council has hired paid consultants and independent investigators to assist in monitoring and adjusting the police department as needed, and has also been working on a police oversight plan. The California Aggie reached out to Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel to comment on these plans but did not receive a response.

“I don’t think this is the first instance of this kind of thing happening in Davis,” said Greg Lang, a UC Davis law student who attended the council meeting. “I think it happens more often than people like to admit […] I think everyone just wants the police, public and the university as well to be on the same page.”

 

Written by: Ahash Francis — city@theaggie.org

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