Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Student protester files civil rights lawsuit against police, county

Bri Holmes is arrested in front of Mrak Hall during a protest on Nov. 19, 2009. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

By
March 11, 2011 |

A UC Davis student has filed a federal lawsuit claiming her arrest and prosecution on suspicion of battering a campus police officer violated her civil rights.

A Yolo County jury last summer voted 10-2 to acquit Brienna Holmes of the battery charge and split 6-6 on an accompanying count of resisting arrest, resulting in a mistrial.

Sacramento attorney Stewart Katz, who represents the UCD senior, alleges that Holmes’ Nov. 19, 2009, arrest and her subsequent prosecution in Yolo Superior Court were “unjustified.”

Filed Feb. 4 in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, the nine-page lawsuit alleges unreasonable seizure, excessive force, malicious abuse of process and battery. It seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are UCD police Capt. Joyce Souza and Lt. Matthew Carmichael, Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputies Ryan Mez and Gary Richter, District Attorney Jeff Reisig and the county of Yolo.

Souza is the officer Holmes was accused of shoving and slapping during a raucous protest outside UCD’s Mrak Hall, where several hundred students had gathered to object to a 32 percent increase in student fees.

Mez and Richter took Holmes into custody following the confrontation with Souza. Authorities alleged that Holmes resisting the officers’ efforts to detain her.

Officials at UCD and the District Attorney’s Office dispute the allegations.

“This lawsuit is meritless,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven said. “In the criminal case, six jurors felt beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Holmes was guilty of a crime.”

Added Michael Sweeney, associate campus counsel at UCD: “The district attorney reviewed the criminal case against Ms. Holmes and determined there was probable cause to conclude that she engaged in criminal activity. …Therefore, based on the information available to us, we believe the officers acted appropriately and certainly have no legal vulnerability.”

Souza testified during the trial last July that Holmes shoved her and slapped at her arms when she instructed Holmes to move out of a pathway that was being used to escort protesters — who had been arrested on trespassing charges — from Mrak Hall to a sheriff’s detention van.

Holmes disputed that account, saying it was Souza who shoved her first, causing her to lose her balance and fall forward. Her struggle with the two sheriff’s deputies who detained her was due to her arm being pinned underneath her body as they placed her on the hood of a patrol car, she testified.

Following the mistrial, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office declined to retry the case and dismissed the misdemeanor charges.

“Ms. Holmes suffered physical injuries, emotional distress and public humiliation as a result of the actions of defendants Souza, Carmichael, Richter, Mez and County of Yolo,” the lawsuit states.

The suit also alleges that the DA’s prosecution of the case cost Holmes legal fees and further humiliation, while those who were arrested for trespassing were not prosecuted.

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8048. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1

     
    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Forum

    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2

     
    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    .

    Sports

    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics