The teenager charged with physically maiming a UCSB police officer at last weekend’s Deltopia mega party in Isla Vista pleaded not guilty Monday to multiple felony counts including resisting an officer and assaulting a peace officer with the allegation of inflicting great bodily harm.
Authorities say 17-year-old Desmond Louis Edwards of Los Angeles sparked the civil unrest that consumed the seaside college town’s streets for more than four hours. Though he will be tried as an adult, Edwards — wearing a blue dress shirt and tie in court — has been held at Juvenile Hall in Santa Maria since his arrest.
Following arguments from public defender Mindi Boulet and prosecutor Mary Barron, Judge Thomas Adams reduced Edwards’s bail from $100,000 to $75,000 with the condition that he reside in his father’s home — and remain home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. — and only travel to Santa Barbara for court hearings. He was also also ordered to not consume alcohol and will have to contact pre-trial services three times a week.
Last week, Sheriff’s officials said that a UCSB police officer had witnessed Edwards involved in a fight and that as he sought to grab Edwards, Edwards spun around and threw a backpack at the officer’s face, splitting open his forehead and knocking him to the ground. The officer is expected to return to duty within the next week or two.
On Monday, public defender Mindi Boulet argued the backpack contained only one half-full Bacardi bottle, not multiple bottles like reports have stated. The bottle also did not break, she argued, and one deputy’s account of the incident stated he only saw the UCSB officer fall to the ground when he attempted to reach out and grab Edwards, which would not cause such injuries.
She further discounted the belief that Edwards would not show up to court because he ran from the officer during the incident, pointing to his many supporters — his parents, family members, and a few friends were present — sitting in the audience.
She added that Edwards has no criminal record, is responsible for caring for his diabetic father, and had no intention of harming someone that night. “He’s a good kid with a good heart. He did not intend for anyone to get hurt.” She asked Adams to reduce his bail to $60,000 (per pre-trial recommendations) or release Edwards on his own recognizance.
Countering Boulet’s argument, prosecutor Mary Barron questioned his parents’ ability to guarantee Edwards attends his hearings. “What was the defendant doing unsupervised that evening in Isla Vista?” She further contended Edwards’s action of violence precipitated the “extreme violence” and that he used the backpack as a weapon, leaving the officer with “debilitating injuries.” Though he may not have any priors, she said, he remains a threat to public safety.
In a compromise, Adams reduced the bail by $25,000. Edwards will appear again in court on April 28. He faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison and a minimum sentence of probation.
Much of the debate surrounding Deltopia’s aftermath has centered on whether or not “out-of-towners” were largely to blame for the havoc. After Deltopia, an Isla Vista foot patrol lieutenant sent a letter to Isla Vista homeowners stating many of the people who threw bricks and bottles from inside their houses or apartments were tenants or friends of the tenants.
The letter explains that though they are unsure of all individuals involved, deputies compiled a list of addresses (and student information of who resides there) that they are certain were involved. Though the residents many not have participated in throwing objects, the letter states, the homes were used to house or “shelter” those who did. The arrest log from the incident should be sent out in the next week or so.