Police arrest Davis man in alleged hate crime attack

Published: Friday, Mar. 15, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 - 7:41 am

Davis police made an arrest Thursday in connection with the brutal beating of a Davis man that investigators are calling a hate crime.

Clayton Garzon, 19, of Davis, is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail in the Yolo County jail in Woodland on numerous allegations tied to an attack on Lawrence "Mikey" Partida, 32.

Partida was attacked as he returned from a house party near downtown Davis early Sunday.

The attack, which took place about 3:50 a.m. near Third and I streets, left Partida so badly beaten that responding officers found him unconscious, according to Davis police. He remains at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

Garzon was arrested by Davis officers about 10 a.m. Thursday at police headquarters, said police Lt. Glenn Glasgow, on suspicion of assault causing great bodily injury, committing a hate crime, assault with a deadly weapon, stalking, inflicting bodily injury during commission of a felony and committing a felony while on release from custody.

Garzon, already facing felony charges in neighboring Solano County, was on release from Solano County custody when he was arrested, Davis police said.

The Sunday morning attack on Partida has left family, friends and his co-workers at Davis Food Co-op, where Partida is a longtime employee, shaken.

The news "was like a bomb," said Lis Harvey, a co-op spokeswoman. "It totally hit us at the core. He is a real sweetheart. His every waking hour is governed by kindness. Of all the people to be hurt in a hateful, senseless way."

Witnesses told police Partida was the target of anti-gay slurs before and after the attack, Glasgow said. Glasgow declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation into the assault.

But in interviews with television station KXTV that aired this week, Partida and his cousin Vanessa Turner said they had had a "small run-in" with Partida's attacker some time earlier.

"I heard him personally yelling slurs at him," Turner told KXTV.

In the moments before the attack, the ugly taunts turned to violence, Partida said.

"It continued and continued and it got closer and closer. All of a sudden, he turned around and punched me," Partida said. "He was pretty loud and proud about it."

The attack on Partida has rallied friends, supporters, customers and colleagues to his side.

A Facebook page built by family members titled "Mikey's Justice Fund" has more than 1,400 "likes," and has become a bulletin board of updates, well-wishes, photos and news reports.

One post is a photo from Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood. In it, the group is holding a sign that reads, "Mikey, we love you."

Davis Food Co-op has donated money to the fund. A food co-op in Illinois quickly learned of the attack and is collecting donations of its own.

At Davis City Hall, news of the arrest Thursday was tempered by the work that still needs to be done to prevent such crimes.

"While we are pleased that there is an arrest, this certainly brings the attention of the community of the importance of preventing hate crimes of any type and the seriousness we have to pay to hate crimes," said Kelly Stachowicz, city spokeswoman.

Sunday's incident also evokes past hate-fueled incidents in Davis.

The city's human relations commission was formed in the wake of the on-campus stabbing death of a Davis High School student in 1983. The Thong Hy Huynh Memorial Awards are named in the fallen student's honor.

In a February 2005 spree, young people targeted schools and churches, tagging them with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti.

Last June, a rubberized noose was found hanging from a goal post in the end zone of Davis High School's football field. Police investigated the find as a hate incident.

The discovery led to a community forum that included Davis' mayor and vice mayor, city police and a Yolo County deputy district attorney to discuss the incident and racial tensions in the community.

At Davis Food Co-op and in town Thursday, people were left with shock and anger – and love for their friend.

"People are in overwhelming, 100 percent agreement that this does not represent this town, and they are eager to share their outrage," Harvey said. "We're going to focus on sending love and light to Mikey and help him through this as best we can."

Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Darrell Smith



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