Faced with another overflow crowd Tuesday of people advocating for a police oversight commission, the Davis City Council fast-tracked the creation of a city ombudsman position. And, straying from form, council members took turns clarifying their positions on the matter and promising something will be done.
“All that we did last night is we sped the process up,” Councilman Stephen Souza said this morning, after his motion to start work on an ombudsman position as soon as the next council meeting received unanimous support.
“We’ve been on this course of action since February. Instead of waiting for our mid-May budget review when we put the motions forward, we have asked that it be stepped up.”
There was standing room only in the Community Chambers Tuesday night. Outside, about 50 people marched from Davis High School to City Hall in support of Halema Buzayan, the 17-year-old Muslim girl who has become the face of months of complaints against the Davis Police Department.
Suspected of a parking lot hit-and-run accident, Buzayan was arrested at 9:30 at night in her pajamas, taken to the police station and questioned without her parents present, leading the family to raise allegations of police misconduct and discrimination because they are Muslim.
A Yolo County judge dismissed the hit-and-run case Monday.
Dina El-Nakhal, director of communications for the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said the march was organized to keep pressure on the City Council as well as to support Buzayan.
“Support for Halema was the major theme, and certainly the issue that injustice was done and needs to be corrected,” El-Nakhal said.