Thursday, July 31, 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

     
    Local therapists bring ‘Daring Greatly’ movement to Davis

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

     
    Davis area youths learn wilderness survival skills

    By Charlotte Orr | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Crews battle grass fire near Davis

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Sorting out the claims after pipe break: Who pays?

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Governor says immigration solution is a priority

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Firefighters keep Yosemite blaze far from sequoias

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Police nab three for vehicle theft

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    As farmland subsides, aquifer worries mount

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Pogledich named Yolo County counsel

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Tuleyome launches Kickstarter campaign to publish a children’s nature book

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

     
    Davis teen on California team for national horticulture competition

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

    Truth and authenticity on radio program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Senior sing-along held monthly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    A rose by any other name

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Civilians are innocent victims

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Thanks for your kindnesses

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Questions, questions, questions

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Ross Douthat: Democrat, Republican patterns are changing

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    River Cats snap three-game losing streak

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Water Polo U10 girls are golden

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

    Aggie Silva mixed school and strikes; wins Reno tourney

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lucky No. 7: Giants snap losing streak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Davis Rugby teams wrap up summer season

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    DHS tryout schedule updated; physical packets due

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    49ers WR Brandon Lloyd enjoying return to NFL

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Hammel struggles in A’s loss to Astros

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    Happy 103rd birthday!

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A2

     
    Fay Libet: 100 years young

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Future subscriber: Sonya Theresa Arnold

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Wedding: Alpers – Halprin Jackson

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Engagement: Snyder-Oerman

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Arts

    Hot City heats up Winters gazebo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Enjoy some Mischief at First Saturday event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    British organist to play in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Native American dancers to perform in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Winters stages ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Landscape exhibition returns to Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Hear live music at Monticello

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    New KDRT show features touring musicians

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, July 31, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6