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Accountability Board to Scrutinize Police Activity Following Picnic Day Arrests

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DAVIS -- The Davis City Council is moving ahead with plans to put a police auditor and a citizens accountability board in place following a scathing report on the police department’s handling of a violent Picnic Day incident involving officers.

An independent investigation said officers were not clearly identified when they shouted obscenities and honked the horn in their unmarked vehicle in an attempt to clear a street blocked by partiers. A wild fight ensued between officers and the crowd.

Five people were arrested, which drew community demonstrations claiming racial bias and police brutality.

The report heavily criticized police for issuing a false report to the media, claiming that officers wore police badges and weapons. It also stated that someone in the crowd feigned pulling a gun and that an officer was hit with a bottle.

Police Chief Darren Pytel has apologized for police actions during the incident.

The so-called "Picnic Day 5" reached a settlement after being arrested and were placed on one year’s probation. Two officers were disciplined following the incident.

This year’s Picnic Day, a heavily attended open house for UC Davis, will be held on April 21. Police say this year all officers will be in uniform and drive well-marked police vehicles.

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