Sunday, January 25, 2015
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

    Red Cross honors community heroes

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Share your love (story) with us

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Winter produce available at Sutter market

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Donations to be distributed during homeless count

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Speaker will share computer security tips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

     
    Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Words and Music Festival events

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

     
    Davis, Woodland are saving water

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    Family isn’t keen on relationship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

     
     
    Caring for the aging mouth

    By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

    Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

     
    Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

    We have the right to choose

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    We don’t have to suffer

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    City helped immensely

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

     
    From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD men take two tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Thomas George Byrne

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8