We are the neighbors of Eli Davis. We also mow our lawns and keep up our yards, but will not be approached by a Davis police officer to show identification and prove we live in our homes. We are appalled that our good African-American neighbor had to endure such treatment recently.
We could not ask for a gentler neighbor than Eli. He is a quiet, private person who, as the original owner, has lived in his home and raised his children for 30 years. We exchange friendly greetings at our shared mailboxes or as we see him pedaling daily on his bicycle to and from work.
We are very aware of the rash of brazen burglaries recently in the greater West Davis area. Eli’s letter tells us that the officer demanded identification because he “fit the description” and refused further explanation. Nor did Eli’s call to the Police Department result in an explanation of this indignity.
News media in the neighborhood this week tell us that the Police Department said there was an incident nearby that day. Why didn’t Eli receive that explanation? And what if he had? No suspicious person description from recent police bulletins comes anywhere near this tall, fit, graying, bespectacled, dignified 68-year-old man — except that he is an African-American male.
He is a grandfather! He was mowing his lawn, for goodness’ sake!
We are saddened that Eli experienced this kind of treatment at this stage of his life and angry that it happens at all to our neighbors or anyone else. Eli Davis deserves a direct apology from the Davis Police Department. The community deserves a plan of correction.
Jim Rodgers and Berta Boegel, Suzanne and Jerry Lilliedoll, Sue and Annie Darst, Steve and Margaret Jackson, Jay and Yaya Feldman, Bob Brodberg