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Officer Injured at Deltopia Takes to the Stand


Thursday, June 26, 2014
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Close to three months after the Deltopia riots broke out in Isla Vista, the 17-year-old man authorities say ignited the four-hour melee appeared in court. Dressed in a mint green dress shirt and accompanied by his parents and two supporters, Desmond Edwards is currently being held at Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall on a $75,000 bail. On the witness stand Wednesday afternoon was the UCSB police officer who authorities say was assaulted when Edwards threw a backpack at him.

On April 5, about 25,000 partyers participated in what has been dubbed an “unsanctioned” annual event, Officer Antonio Magaña testified, and on that Saturday night around 9:30 p.m., he witnessed a fight involving four or five individuals begin on the 6700 block of Del Playa Drive, an area he described as less congested than other parts of the coastal street. As officers sought to break up the fight, the subjects scattered, Magaña said.

Answering questions from prosecutor Mary Barron, Magaña said he spotted one individual — later identified as Edwards — because his pink shorts and white shirt were visible thanks to the large surveillance cameras and lights that had been installed just days earlier. Magaña said he chased Edwards — who was running on the sidewalk — westward down the street. Edwards appeared to be holding a high-school-style backpack, which he speculated held him back a bit.

Magaña testified that his recollection of the events that followed is hazy. Magaña first said that he was struck with the backpack in the face when he was standing in the street. “The force of the backpack was so severe that it temporarily incapacitated me,” Magaña said, and he later added he suffered from loss of memory to some extent. “I attempted to run after him even though I was in a lot of pain. My natural reaction was to apprehend the subject as I fell forward.” Magaña later described his fall as a “Superman-type of a move.”

Magaña said he wasn’t sure if he went unconscious — if he did it was only for a moment — but he was sure he was “bleeding profusely.” At this point, an ambulance responded, and Magaña said the crowd started to turn on law enforcement, “People were starting to throw things and bottles. That was the beginning of the riot.”

Magaña went on to say that he was transported to the hospital, where he took medication — an unknown type — to sedate himself and had 20 stitches sewn above his right eye. A photograph presented of the wound showed they went from the ridge above his nose to halfway across his eyebrow.

During cross-examination, public defender Mindi Boulet asked Magaña if he could have tripped on a small tree stump. But Magaña disagreed and said he fell because he was struck by the backpack. Boulet also played stills from the surveillance video, which was somewhat difficult to make out. Because trees in the screenshot had not been trimmed, the footage did not catch the backpack incident on tape.

Barron will bring two more witnesses. The preliminary hearing continues Thursday afternoon.

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There were about 5 poles with about 4 surveillance cameras each deployed in that area.

The possibility that none of those 20 or so cameras caught this incident clearly? Just about zero.

That there was only 1 and it was blocked by foliage? Hahahahahahahaha.

If there was a good photographic record of this incident, the Sheriff's Office might have destroyed it by now. But with merely a public defender, there is not enough $ to trace down all the details that could establish the fate of every camera feed out there on DP.

For all the disruption and concentration-camp atmosphere provided by those cameras, that they apparently prove useless is appalling.

pardallchewinggumspot (anonymous profile)
June 26, 2014 at 5:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why did he chase him?

locke (anonymous profile)
June 26, 2014 at 10:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not defending the kid, but why did the policeman chase him? And which amendment to the Constitution says a street party has to be "sanctioned"? After all, didn't the police force the party onto Del Playa by closing down the beach? Was that legal? Doesn't the press do investigative stuff anymore, or do you all just mimic what the overseers serve up? Just askin' . . .

Carmelo (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2014 at 11:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Looking a bit closer… Magaña says he suffers memory loss the sequence of events isn't clear in his memory. But he seems to recall that Edwards threw the backpack at him. Officer DiPinto, who pursued Edwards with Magaña, didn't see the incident. Miraculously, the 24 surveillance cameras on 6 poles in the vicinity didn't capture the incident either.

Just one neutral witness who saw the throwing of the backpack by Edwards would sure be helpful. Sending a 17-year-old to the State Pen for 12 years based on such vague evidence would be rather remarkable.

Magaña admits that he fell to the ground. Seems a bit more likely that that fall was the origin of his head injury. Although his memory is spotty on other issues, Magaña feels sure that his head did not strike the ground.

One very clear test of the veracity of law enforcement accounts concerns the bottles in the backpack.

Sheriff Bill Brown, quoted in the Indy on April 8, http://www.independent.com/news/2014/..., said Edwards `swung' a
`backpack full of alcohol bottles at' Officer Magaña.

`Sheriff's officials' are quoted in the Indy on April 11 (http://www.independent.com/news/2014/... ) as saying `Edwards allegedly `swung' a `backpack filled with full liquor bottles' at the police officer’s face'.

On April 15, public defender Boulet said really there was only one 1/2 full bottle of rum. Indeed, in the testimony this week, both the News-Press and Noozhawk (http://www.noozhawk.com/article/man_w...) indicates that Boulet, and neither the Sheriff nor the Sheriff's officials were correct. The Indy overlooks this development.

Hmmm… this case will really turn on what other witnesses who are less interested in the outcome have to say. If disinterested witnesses say that Officer Magaña really cut him self falling down on the street, then the narrative of the Deltopia `riot' collapses. If Edwards was merely fleeing, and didn't attack an Officer, it is a lot harder to justify the declaration of an unlawful gathering. A 17-year-old running from police is hardly mayhem.

And I sure hope every millisecond of those camera feeds is available for scrutiny by the Press; probably not the Indy, which needs the revenue from clicks it gets by sensationalizing IV news, but hopefully by the Daily Nexus.

pardallchewinggumspot (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2014 at 1:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wan to see any of you internet tough guys take a bottle to the head for doing the job you're assigned to do, see how you handle that.

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2014 at 1:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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