Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Injustice seen in black and white

RichRifkinW

By
From page A6 | March 06, 2013 | Leave Comment

In both cases, the mistreatment of residents stemmed from Davis police officers assuming crimes had taken place and they knew who was guilty — before conducting investigations.

They failed to treat residents of our community with respect. They acted aggressively, intemperately and without regard for justice.

The first took place May 23, 2012, outside the Glacier Point Apartments in West Davis. It has received widespread media attention. It includes an allegation that the officers involved were racially biased.

According to press reports, the police received a 911 call about a domestic dispute involving two African-Americans, Jerome Wren and Tatiana Bush. The caller said the couple was arguing and told the dispatcher there had been “a physical encounter.”

Moments later, four patrol cars raced to the scene. Four!

The cops claimed Wren disobeyed their commands, so they handcuffed him and stuffed him into a squad car. While detained, the officers say Wren removed his handcuffs, kicked open the door, jumped out and punched an officer in the face and that forced them to Taser him.

A June 5 California Aggie story reports a different version of events: “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.”

The cops dealt with Wren as if he was a dangerous criminal. Yet he wasn’t.

Bush told the Davis Vanguard she had been under emotional stress due to her mother’s health and “her living status.” She visited Wren, that day, to talk about these matters. Due to her emotional state, she said she was loud.

“(Wren) was trying to hug me to calm me down, but I wouldn’t let him,” she told the Aggie. That was the “physical encounter.”

On Feb. 13, the Davis Police Department concluded, “…the interactions with Ms. Bush and Mr. Wren did not meet the highest expectations of professional conduct and service that are expected of members of the Davis Police Department.”

While sustaining the charge that the officers acted improperly, the department’s investigation added, “There was no evidence that bias or the race of any involved person played a part in the handling of this incident.”

After reading The Enterprise’s account of the Bush and Wren case, a white resident, Steven Hanson, 61, whose family has been in Davis since 1919, told me his story. Up to now it has received no media attention.

It was Aug. 24, 2011, a Saturday afternoon. Hanson was at his home in East Davis. Officer Andrew Penrose banged on his door. Hanson had no idea why.

Penrose ordered Hanson to step outside. He demanded that the resident, then recuperating from surgery, follow him past his driveway, across the sidewalk and into the street.

“Now you’re on my territory!” Penrose yelled.

Next door, Hanson’s neighbors were holding a yard sale.

Rather than politely asking this lifelong Davis citizen questions about an allegation which had been made against him, Officer Penrose launched into a tirade, accusing Hanson of stalking a woman, also a Davis resident, with whom Hanson had had a falling out over a professional relationship.

Penrose decided before he got to Hanson’s home that the tale the woman told was true. Penrose did not wait to hear Hanson’s side of the story.

The allegations she leveled, Hanson says, were false. He never stalked her. The DA did not charge him. He was never even issued a ticket.

If any crime had been committed, Hanson believes, it was by this woman, filing a false police report. Her anger stemmed from the fact that Hanson had reported her to the state board that oversees her profession, and that board upheld his allegations against her.

But Penrose never asked Hanson what was going on. Instead, he got inches from Hanson’s face and harangued Hanson to stop harassing her, stop calling her, stop going her to home.

Penrose behaved as if he were judge, jury and executioner of justice.

Hanson knew he had done nothing wrong. But in front of his neighbors, an unprofessional cop was berating him. Two other officers stood behind Hanson, apparently waiting to tackle the 61-year-old man, fresh from surgery, in case he reacted to Penrose’s diatribe.

A department investigation upheld Hanson’s accusation. “Officer Penrose conducted himself in an unprofessional manner, which is a violation of department rules. He did not need to approach you in the manner in which he did and it would have been more appropriate to ask you questions, in a non-accusatory manner, so that he could have concluded his investigation. Therefore the complaint has been classified as sustained.”

Although Hanson told me that Officer Penrose is not white, he did not claim the cop acted out of racial bias.

There’s no way to know if Bush and Wren were mistreated because of their skin color. However, it’s not the case that most black residents of Davis are being abused by the police. And it is not the case that most police misconduct in Davis involves black victims.

Last June, Bush told The Aggie, “It’s disgusting how (Davis police) treat African-American students, and I won’t stand for such things.”

I agree with Tatiana Bush that it is disgusting how she and Wren were treated. But if cases like Hanson’s received equal publicity, it would become clear that victims of police misconduct come in all colors.

— Rich Rifkin is a Davis resident; his column is published every other week. Reach him at Lxartist@yahoo.com

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

4-H members get ready for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
 
2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
 
Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
MOMS Club plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

 
Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6