Crime - Sacto 911

Arraignment of men in Picnic Day brawl with police delayed at Yolo DA’s request

The arraignment scheduled Tuesday afternoon for three men arrested after engaging in a fistfight with police attempting to break up a UC Davis Picnic Day party was postponed to June 6 in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland.

Alexander Reide Craver, 22, and Elijah James Williams, 19, both of West Sacramento, and Antwoine Rashadek Perry, 21, of Elk Grove could face a year or more in county jail if convicted.

Craver was arrested on suspicion of aggravated battery, assaulting a peace officer, felony obstruction of a peace officer and assault with a deadly weapon. Perry was arrested on suspicion of aggravated battery and felony obstruction of a peace officer. Williams was arrested on suspicion of assault on a peace officer, aggravated battery, assault with a deadly weapon and felony obstruction of a peace officer.

The men declined to discuss the case Tuesday afternoon outside the courtroom. The delay came at the request of the district attorney’s office, which seeks more time to sort through evidence.

The April 22 incident sparked questions regarding the conduct of the three plainclothes police officers.

The city took the “very rare” step of hiring an outside investigator because of allegations that police used excessive force and exhibited racial bias. Some witnesses blamed police for causing a hostile response from Picnic Day participants. Video of incident, provided by a citizen witness, shows as many as 50 young people spilling into the slow lane of the road.

When a gray minivan makes a U-turn and pulls next to the group of people, punches are thrown immediately as the doors open. Several men can be seen punching and kicking the plainclothes officers. One officer suffered injuries to his eye and face and another was treated for a bleeding head wound caused by a bottle, according to Davis police.

The internal investigation of the police response was to be headed by former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness, but the radio host resigned from the investigation after after his on-air comments about African Americans prompted a call for his ouster. McGinness told his radio audience on KFBK that African Americans did “much, much, much, much better before” the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed segregation and discrimination based on race.

Stepping away was the “right thing to do,” McGinness said. “That kind of issue can be a distraction.”

Ed Fletcher: 916-321-1269, @NewsFletch