As a Latina mother of two. my incident with a Davis police officer is hard for me to retell due to how degrading it feels to remember. Yet such stories are crucial to share with community, so we all are aware of Davis Police improper behavior
One sunny afternoon at the end of January, 2018, I with my daughter and her friend decided to take Ragsy, our pet rabbit, out for a walk in Willowcreek Park. We were excited to try out his new leash on a walk outside after much indoor time during the rainy season.
As we arrived in the park it was immediately clear that the two unleashed dogs would pose a risk to our rabbit. I asked the owners of the dogs to please leash their dogs because I had two young kids and a leashed rabbit with me. The middle-aged white man seemed to agree and said he understood. He would tell his friend, a white woman, who had a teenager and elementary-school-aged kid with her. And they would both leash their dogs. I thanked him and walked away smiling.
Sadly, they refused to comply. He casually walked over to the woman; they both laughed; they did not leash their poodle or lab.
At sunset, I saw one of the dogs coming closer to us sniffing around. I decided to take Ragsy out of harm’s way. I didn’t get to him in time. The dog leapt towards the rabbit though I couldn’t see clearly. I heard a tussle so I grabbed the dog’s collar. I called for the dog owner to help me. I could hear Ragsy running away though I couldn’t see where he ran. Then I turned to call the dog owner again and again since she was not too far away, laughing and talking to her male friend. I asked her, “excuse me ma’am, can you please come get your dog?”
I was worried about my rabbit. The loose dog may have bitten him. So I began to yell louder. I was yelling at the top of my lungs. The woman turned around and slowly walked toward me. Her friend called out to me, following behind her saying,“You don’t need to be yelling at her, there’s no need for that.” I politely told him, “No sir, I’m not yelling at you, but I’ve been calling her and she was ignoring me. Her dog attacked my rabbit, I had asked both of you earlier to put your dogs on leash.”
Soon the man came over yelling at me. He told me to shut up and put MY bunny on a leash, to which I replied that he already was on a leash. I told him to back away from me because he became increasingly agitated; he had started stepping closer and closer to me, yelling at the top of his lungs until he was less than 4 feet away from me. Although I was yelling at him to get away from me, he refused. It was then that I feared that he may try to strike me. So I decided to call for help to the Davis Police.
As we were waiting for the police, the man continued yelling at me, in front of my kids, telling me what a horrible parent I was. The woman’s kids were also yelling at me. My own kids were silently watching, in shock. My daughter, with her friend, was looking for the rabbit. She began to cry worried that Ragsy may have crossed the road and got hit by a car. It was awful. It took a long time for the police to arrive. When the officer showed up, he listened to my story and was stern. Then he walked over to the loose dog owners and started laughing. That Davis Police Officer took the middle-aged white man’s side.
I had also contacted my partner, who had just gotten off work, to come and take the kids and the rabbit home. He arrived at the same time the police officer did.
As the officer was interviewing the man and woman, my partner walked toward them and asked the man why he would yell at a woman. The police officer then placed his hand on his gun. The officer then put his hand out toward my partner in an aggressive manner. He told my partner to back away and when he continued to ask the man why he was yelling at a woman, the officer told him to leave the park. I was standing there, in shock with my family staring at the cop who was telling us to leave the park. Shouldn’t he be giving these folks a warning for having their dogs off-leash and verbally assaulting a woman with her kids?
In the end, we looked on as the police officer continued laughing and chatting with the white family, I and my children stood by feeling humiliated.
First, Davis Police should follow City of Davis ordinances. The officer refused to even write a warning ticket. He had said it was a civil case not a criminal case.
Second, one wonders why the Davis police officer orders us Latinas, with rabbit on leash, out of the park. Why did the officer react aggressively to my partner asking a question of the white man?
We, Latinas, not feeling welcome in Davis, have not been back to our neighborhood park.
(author's name withheld by request)