Mystery assault in front of Fry's Electronics

"I thought I was being murdered"

“That’s him,” shouted the woman in the Walmart parking lot near Aero Drive and Interstate 15. Seconds later, Jeffrey Saikali felt a car bump him in the back of the legs. “I swept my arm around and pounded once on the hood of the car,” he says. “Just then, the woman jumped on me from behind.” The motion of his arm brushed the woman off, too, Saikali says, and she went down. “The next thing I know, the driver, a very big guy, is out of the car and has me down. He proceeds to choke me and beat the top and back of my head, driving my face into the pavement. All the while he’s berating me with profanities. Before long I was lying in a pool of my own blood. I thought I was being murdered. There were people who had gathered around to watch, and the woman was bragging to them that the attacker was a martial arts expert. I cried out for someone to help me. But the most anyone would do was to warn my assailant to stop because if he killed me things would go very badly for him.”

A verbal dispute inside of Fry’s Electronics led to Jeffrey Saikali being beaten in the parking lot across the street.

A verbal dispute inside of Fry’s Electronics led to Jeffrey Saikali being beaten in the parking lot across the street.

Moments earlier, Saikali and his female antagonist had been in a verbal dispute in Fry’s Electronics across Stonecrest Boulevard to the south. It was about 7:30 in the evening on Saturday, April 13, 2013. Saikali had gone to shop in the store and was speaking with a salesman. He had already put a few items into a cart that was standing nearby. He noticed that a woman began walking away with the cart. He let her know, and the woman apologized. Saikali figured the incident was over. But, he recalls, the woman came closer and insisted that his proper response to her apology should have been, “That’s okay.” Saikali says he told the woman, “You said you were sorry; the matter is done with.” He then went on talking with the salesman.

But the woman approached and pointed her smartphone at Saikali, announcing that he was being recorded. Saikali says he placed an envelope between her camera lens and his face. “When she maneuvered for a better angle, I moved the cellphone aside. She then began screaming that I hit her.”

A man Saikali took to be a security officer quickly appeared. The man asked Saikali to step into another aisle while he spoke with the woman. After waiting longer than he thought was reasonable, Saikali decided to leave the store. As he walked out the doors, he says, he heard the woman call out, “You have to stop him.” But he says no store employees complied. The woman then followed Saikali through the Fry’s parking lot. Saikali says he deliberately kept walking forward without looking back.

He walked almost as far as the front door of the Walmart store across the street, where he reversed his course. He could hear the woman calling someone on the phone to hurry and come.

“I sensed from voices around that other people were joining her,” says Saikali. “Now the woman also shouted that I had thrown her down.”

A light-gray car approached and passed him in the parking lot. Saikali says he could hear the car turn around behind him as the woman identified him to its driver. He maintains that during the beating he then endured, police officers arrived but did not intervene, allowing the assailant to continue briefly before stopping on his own. Police then handcuffed Saikali and stood him against a patrol car. “I could barely stand,” he says. Eventually, police put him in the car and an officer came to ask for his account of what happened. “But the officer did not take notes or use a recorder,” he says.

A cop with a bad rep

One of the first things Saikali told police was that he needed medical attention and wanted to be sent to the hospital. He says they told him he didn’t need it. But an ambulance did arrive shortly. Saikali’s eyeglasses had been destroyed in the beating, and he says he could barely make out people talking behind the ambulance’s open doors a short distance away. Soon it drove away without its attendants examining Saikali.

Sergeant Kenneth Davis

Sergeant Kenneth Davis

After his continued insistence on going to the hospital, a second ambulance appeared, and attendants examined Saikali inside it. Sergeant Kenneth Davis then entered and issued Saikali a misdemeanor citation for “battery on a person.” Saikali says he requested of Davis several things, starting with an explanation of what the citation was for. But the officer refused to answer.

Jeffrey Sakali talks about the Murphy Canyon incident

Jeffrey Sakali returns to the Fry's parking lot where he had been in an physical altercation with two strangers, beaten by one of them, and then subsequently detained by Sergeant Kenneth Davis.

Jeffrey Sakali returns to the Fry's parking lot where he had been in an physical altercation with two strangers, beaten by one of them, and then subsequently detained by Sergeant Kenneth Davis.

Was the man who beat Saikali also issued a citation? No. Could Saikali press charges against the man? No.

Davis then left the ambulance but not before becoming candid on one point. “He told me that I deserved my injuries,” Saikali says.

Sergeant Davis is already known in town for behavior ranging from questionable detainment to criminal stalking. In 2007, a lawsuit was filed against Davis in federal court for malicious prosecution. Southeast San Diego resident Melford Wilson had objected loudly and with obscene language to a drug investigation Davis was conducting in the neighborhood. The officer arrested Wilson for obstructing the search. After Wilson sued, the city attorney’s office was able to have the charges dismissed. But a 2011 appeal in the U.S. Appellate Court’s Ninth Circuit resulted in the judgment being reversed. A key issue in the case was Wilson’s constitutional right of free speech. But after the case was remanded to the district court, a second jury exonerated Davis again.

That same year, however, Davis didn’t fare as well. In the spring, he was charged with felony stalking against fellow officer Robin Hayes and was put on a three-year administrative leave. In a preliminary hearing, Hayes testified that Davis had also threatened to kill her. Through plea bargaining, Davis was eventually allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor stalking. On October 13, 2011, after his trial concluded, NBC San Diego ran a story headlined, “Officer Stalks and Walks Free.” Davis soon was back at work on the streets.

Victim charged with a felony?

After Saikali arrived at the Sharp Memorial Hospital emergency room, he overheard the woman he says attacked him talking in a nearby enclosure. She was bragging again, he says, this time to a nurse, about how her male companion in the Walmart parking lot was an expert in martial arts. Saikali could hear that she was being treated for a broken wrist. He figured she had broken it when he flung her off his back. The first ambulance at the crime scene must have brought her there, he thought.

Before Saikali left the hospital, he had the nurse attending him take pictures of his injuries. Within days, he also wrote a three-page account of what happened both inside Fry’s and outside Walmart. He then went to the U.S. attorney’s office, where he was told there was nothing they could do. “I wanted them to see my injuries firsthand,” he says.

Saikali also called Fry’s and Walmart to ask that they save the surveillance video of the night he had been beaten. They promised to do it. When he called Walmart’s security department three weeks after the incident, he was told that only police could view the video. Had police come to look at it? No, they had not, he says the Walmart spokesperson told him.

Saikali tells me that previously he had never been in trouble with the law and that, during the aftermath to being “inexplicably charged with a crime,” he became “crazy with anxiety” over exactly what police had concluded about his case. And what would come next? The citation he was issued demanded that he appear at the Misdemeanor Arraignment Department in the courthouse by June 3 or earlier. But he was afraid of what “other bogus charges might be leveled at me downtown.” Would he be arrested if he appeared? Still, the most pressing thing was to obtain justice for what had been done to him.

On April 25, Saikali called the district attorney’s Victim Services office. He says that the woman who answered the phone “at first showed interest in what happened to me, but when she looked at the case, she said there was nothing she could do because I had been listed as a suspect.” Being labeled a suspect in his case has caused Saikali no end of frustration. He got the same treatment on May 14 when he contacted the Hate Crimes unit, also a service of the district attorney.

Before his next appeal for help, Saikali learned at the courthouse that the misdemeanor charge against him had been raised to felony battery. The same day, May 29, he also discovered that the district attorney’s office had rejected his case for prosecution. He tells me that a spokesman in the office could not explain why either of these developments had taken place.

Had his assailant been listed as a suspect all along? Perhaps Sgt. Davis had not told the truth. It wasn’t until July 10, 2013, that, on instruction from the mayor’s office, he went to police headquarters to obtain the crime report of his case. There he was told he couldn’t have it. Why? Because he was listed as a suspect in the case.

“All police have to do to prevent someone from seeing how they mishandle a case is to label him a suspect,” Saikali tells me.

Mike Marrinan, an attorney who prosecutes cases of abuse by San Diego police officers, thinks that explanation is unlikely. He acknowledges that the attack on Saikali should have been treated as a separate case. “What probably happened,” Marrinan tells me by phone, “was that, having received a citizen’s arrest call from the woman, police were too lazy to do anything other than list one suspect. Maybe they just didn’t like him. Or, on the basis of the charge he hit a woman, they felt he deserved what happened to him.”

But Marrinan wonders why Saikali couldn’t obtain a copy of the police report. “They commonly give out police reports to suspects, too” he says. “To protect witnesses and other parties that might be subject to retaliation, the police will black out names and other revealing information in the reports.”

I tell Marrinan that in January Saikali finally put in a California Public Records Act request to get police to release the report. That often backfires, Marrinan tells me, “because then the department’s legal counsel gets involved. Usually the simplest request at the department’s records office works better. They see that he was involved in the case and send out the report.” But that approach was what Saikali tried first.

The public-records request Saikali would submit in January did produce one windfall. Although the response, which came from then–police chief William Lansdowne’s office, denied him the police report, it was accompanied by an “incident history.” This three-page typed document is a cryptic record of what various police officers apparently encountered when they responded to the Walmart parking-lot incident. No reference to what occurred earlier inside Fry’s is mentioned in the incident history.

One note in the History states, “3 males fighting one att to run over another.” A second reads, “fighting over a fem.” Then, “approx 2 people hitting one male on the ground.” And finally, “male-Jeffrey Saikali has injuries from being hit by veh and beat up by another male.”

There was no indication, however, of what Saikali wanted most. What did police do, if anything, in dealing with the individual who did the beating up?

Citizens’ review

I met Saikali shortly before he filed the public-records request. He is a black man in his 40s, but the way he first told his story struck me as devoid of racial overtones. I later pried it out of him that the woman who accused him was “a dark-haired white woman.” He had not gotten enough of a glimpse of the male attacker to determine his racial identity.

However, Saikali says that on May 2, 2013, he did go to a meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Danell Scarborough, executive director of the San Diego Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices, was at the meeting, and Saikali handed her his written account of both the verbal altercation in Fry’s and the beating he took in the Walmart parking lot. Scarborough told him that she would file his complaint with the police department’s Internal Affairs unit, which investigates all citizens’ complaints against the City of San Diego’s police. She also promised to keep him posted on the progress of his complaint.

Meanwhile, May through July came and went and Saikali had heard nothing from Scarborough. By then, he had discovered the citizens’ review board’s mixed reputation. A 2012 San Diego County Grand Jury report criticized the participation of Internal Affairs personnel at board meetings. On its brochure, the citizens’ review board touts itself as providing “independent and impartial” oversight of citizens’ charges of police misbehavior. But former and current boardmembers told the grand-jury hearing some officers say in meetings “they never want any dissenting votes going from [the board] to the Mayor or the Chief of Police.” U-T San Diego would characterize the criticism by titling its May 22, 2012, coverage “Grand Jury: Bullying Common on police review board.” Later, on September 16, 2013, the U-T reported that 85 percent of recent complaints reviewed by the board were ruled “unfounded.”

Rubber-stamp board

The idea behind the Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices was approved by San Diego voters as Proposition G in 1988. For many years, California citizens had been looking for ways to discipline misbehaving cops.

“In 1974,” according to Ali Winston in an August 17, 2011, AlterNet article, “the California Supreme Court granted defendants access to police employment files under certain circumstances. That prompted police departments to start shredding records, until, in 1977, police associations and unions won the Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights, which along with key sections of California’s penal code exempted all personnel information from laws allowing residents to access public records. In response, jurisdictions around the state created independent review boards to investigate complaints of police misconduct.”

San Diego’s review board became one of those boards after the Sagon Penn case in 1985. Penn, a black resident of Southeast San Diego, shot and killed one cop and wounded another. He also wounded a ride-along passenger in the dead officer’s car. In two trials, one in 1986 and the other in 1987, attorney Milt Silverman argued that Penn had acted in self-defense since he feared the officers were about to kill him. Widespread public perceptions of police brutality and racism were backdrops to the trials. Juries acquitted Penn in both cases.

The citizens’ review board that resulted was never independent. It lacked subpoena power and could not conduct its own interviews of witnesses, including cops. It has been limited to evaluating the investigative work of the police department’s Internal Affairs unit. However, the board can have criticisms placed in officers’ personnel files and report the most egregious misbehavior to the mayor.

A second and stronger initiative to create police oversight was on the ballot in 1988 as well. Proposition F provided for a truly independent citizens group to investigate police misconduct. But it came at a greater annual cost to pay for the investigations.

Both propositions were passed by San Diego voters. Then–city attorney John Witt determined that they conflicted with each other and decided that the one with the most votes should be put into operation and the other dropped. It turned out that G had garnered 815 more votes than F. So, San Diego ended up with a police-monitoring, rather than a police-investigative, board.

The efforts of California residents trying to track the careers of misbehaving cops became even more difficult after 2003. That year in San Diego, Copley Press unsuccessfully sought details in the case of a misbehaving deputy sheriff. Copley sued, and the California Supreme Court sided with police in protecting officers’ privacy.

In her AlterNet article, Winston quoted the opinion of Tom Newton, a former executive director of the California Newspaper Association. Police unions, said Newton, have been “relentless over the past 25 years to create a tool for law enforcement agencies to work without public scrutiny. With Copley, they hit the jackpot.”

In the past 15 years, San Diego’s Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices has been criticized by not one but two San Diego Grand Jury reports. Unhappiness with police oversight tends to emerge after spikes in troubling police behavior, as has happened in the cases of sexual abuse by a few city cops over the past several years. The first grand-jury report raised the question, “Have we been getting what we voted for?” That report took on not only the city’s review board but also San Diego County’s Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board. The 2012 report recommended that the chief of police stop Internal Affairs personnel from its attendance at closed sessions of the citizens’ review board. In a response, Mayor Jerry Sanders noted that “police personnel records are required in closed session meetings. Internal Affairs,” he wrote, “is the custodian of records and must be present or nearby at all times.”

Sanders also observed that, during discussion of cases in meetings, boardmembers benefit from being able to question Internal Affairs personnel.

“In my four years,” on the Citizens’ Review Board, says Jude Litzenberger, “not one citizen complaint of police misconduct was sustained by the board.”

“In my four years,” on the Citizens’ Review Board, says Jude Litzenberger, “not one citizen complaint of police misconduct was sustained by the board.”

Jude Litzenburger speaks about the San Diego’s Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices

In the past 15 years, San Diego’s Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices has been criticized by not one but two San Diego Grand Jury reports.

Former member Jude Litzenberger believes strongly that the citizens’ review board can make a great contribution to public oversight of police work. Yet, she is one of the board’s severest critics. She discusses her experience in this video.

In the past 15 years, San Diego’s Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices has been criticized by not one but two San Diego Grand Jury reports. Former member Jude Litzenberger believes strongly that the citizens’ review board can make a great contribution to public oversight of police work. Yet, she is one of the board’s severest critics. She discusses her experience in this video.

Former member Jude Litzenberger believes strongly that the citizens’ review board can make a great contribution to public oversight of police work. Yet, she is one of the board’s severest critics. For 21 years she served in the Navy, where she developed training programs and “learned to work within the system. But I flunked retirement,” she says. After the Navy, Litzenberger earned a law degree from the University of San Diego and has been working with San Diego’s Veterans Court. The court helps vets in legal trouble find treatment to deal with post-traumatic stress and other service-related problems that may be contributing to criminal behavior.

Litzenberger served a two-year stint on the citizens’ review board. Each applicant to serve on the board must first spend two years as a prospective member, doing everything boardmembers do, except vote.

When a citizen’s complaint is reviewed, boardmembers have four optional categories in which to place it. The first two, “Unfounded” and “Exonerated,” leave no mark on an officer’s record. Both “Not-sustained” and “Sustained” complaints go in the officer’s personnel file. Sustained complaints also go to the mayor for possible sanctions.

“In my four years, not one citizen complaint of police misconduct was sustained by the board,” says Litzenberger. “If you never sustain any complaints, the public will look at you as a rubber stamp.”

Litzenberger believes that paid city staff, especially executive director Danell Scarborough and a representative from the city attorney’s office, play too domineering a role. Scarborough trains boardmembers and participates in their recruitment. Recently, in a change of bylaws, she became the supervisor of boardmembers. During meetings, she and the city attorney’s representative inform members what they can and cannot do and say.

There is a natural tendency for boardmembers to side with the guys who fight criminals. Litzenberger argues that the mayor is responsible for making sure that the recruitment of boardmembers includes “people who are not easily led.”

The board also needs to recruit and keep more minorities, she says. “But even when we got them, we often drove them away.”

In addition to officers from the police department’s Internal Affairs unit, Litzenberger tells me, assistant chief David Ramirez also attends board meetings.

She says that when discussions started moving toward censuring an officer, Ramirez would occasionally offer an exculpatory explanation. “Our team would not have seen the information he was talking about,” she says. “Only he knew about it.”

If run more independently, Litzenberger thinks the review board could provide a crucial early-warning system for detecting cops that may be going wrong. Correcting their behavior would be “a tremendous service to the majority of cops who are doing a great job.”

The problems start in Internal Affairs, Litzenberger maintains, with poor quality interrogation of witnesses. “I listened to tapes of interviews in which the investigator was clearly leading the witness,” she says. “There are techniques of cross-examination that don’t involve planting evidence.”

A number of factors then get in the review board’s way. Most of the boardmembers only have time to listen to taped interviews and review notes in the case files after working a full day at their jobs. They must go to the police department before 7 p.m. and check out files for examination onsite only.

The biggest structural problem is that the city attorney’s office defends police when they are taken to court and advises both the review board and the city’s Risk Management office. “There is no glass wall between these functions,” says Litzenberger. “The board really needs an independent legal advisor.” But the overriding role of the city attorney’s office, in regard to citizen complaints, is to minimize the city’s liability.

“Right now,” says Litzenberger, “the legitimate complaints about the police are being resolved in court.” A well-functioning review board, she believes, could save the city from many expenditures on defending against lawsuits. “But when the city is being sued, complaints to the review board get pigeonholed until the legal action is resolved. Being charged in court does not end up in an officer’s personnel files.” Since the review board can put nothing negative in the files more than a year after a citizen complains, the time the board has to review a case is often diminished, leading to errant cops going undetected. “We would get down to having three weeks to finish a case, and members would say, ‘Let’s just agree with Internal Affairs.’”

And in reviewing cases, says Litzenberger, “We never heard that a police officer had been accused of the same thing, let’s say, seven times before.” The Peace Officers Bill of Rights makes sure of that. With the exception of judges during trials, she says, “only the police department gets to look at officers’ records.”

Citizens are permitted to serve on the review board for eight years. Mayor Sanders chose not to reappoint Litzenberger after she served two years.

What about the attacker?

On August 2, 2013, Jeffrey Saikali decided to bypass the citizens’ review board and call Internal Affairs directly. “A Jeff Peterson there told me that he didn’t deny the board had sent them my complaint,” says Saikali. “Peterson said Internal Affairs just didn’t have a record of it. He also told me that it’s not the policy of Internal Affairs to document everything that comes into the office. I find that outrageous.”

Ten days later, Lt. Bernie Colon wrote to Saikali, thanking him for his complaint. “During the formal investigation process,” wrote Colon, “you, the officers and all witnesses will be interviewed.”

On August 14, Saikali spoke to an investigator at Internal Affairs. Sgt. Shawn Takeuchi acknowledged having photos of Saikali’s injuries that had been taken in the hospital. “Those photos,” Saikali says, “clearly show abrasions to my face and how damaged I was in my eyes.”

San Diego police Internal Affairs document incorrectly indicates that Jeffrey Saikali was not injured as a result of his beating on 4/13/2013.

San Diego police Internal Affairs document incorrectly indicates that Jeffrey Saikali was not injured as a result of his beating on 4/13/2013.

Two days later, Internal Affairs sent Saikali a form with a few details of his case. The form indicated that, although police also photographed Saikali after the attack, he had no injuries.

On August 27, Douglas Oden of the NAACP wrote to district attorney Bonnie Dumanis, asking her to clarify what happened in Saikali’s case. “Our concern,” said Oden, “is not only with how Mr. Saikali was treated by police, but also why the person who assaulted Mr. Saikali has not been prosecuted.”

The next day, Saikali received a phone message from Sgt. Takeuchi, who now asked if they could meet for an interview. Saikali responded by listing three possible times to meet on a day of his choice. After hearing back that Takeuchi could not meet that day, Saikali figured the investigator would suggest alternative times. But in a letter on September 11, Takeuchi said only that he had not heard from Saikali in a while and asked him to respond within five days “to confirm your interview.” Takeuchi then noted that “time is of the essence.” In response, Saikali sent Takeuchi a letter that was never returned.

On September 16, the district attorney’s office replied to the letter of the NAACP’s Douglas Oden. The response stated that insufficient evidence precluded a prosecution in Saikali’s case, due in part to “the other party [having] suffered a fractured wrist,” an obvious reference to Saikali’s female antagonist on April 13. But what of her male companion that beat up Saikali?

On February 24 of this year, I spoke by phone with Danell Scarborough. She told me that the unit had authorized her to disclose a little information about Saikali’s case. She reported that before the attack on Saikali outside Walmart, there had been an incident in the Fry’s Electronics store between him and a female. More importantly, she said, the Internal Affairs investigation had turned up testimony that supported the woman’s version of events. What was the woman’s version? I wondered. I asked Scarborough if any of the witnesses had said that Saikali struck the woman or threw her to the ground.

“I feel like this is potentially getting into information from the investigation that is confidential and that I am not at liberty to talk about,” Scarborough told me. “I believe the testimony tended to support the woman’s version of events.”

Scarborough also reported that Sgt. Takeuchi told her that Saikali had not returned messages intended to arrange for an interview.

“We heard that story many times while I was on the citizens’ review board,” Jude Litzenberger told me.

On March 14, Scarborough wrote Saikali an encouraging email, saying that in reviewing his case, the citizens’ review board had “requested that Internal Affairs conduct additional, extensive interviews, which they are doing. The team specifically asked that Internal Affairs request additional information from you. It is my understanding that you have not responded to multiple attempts at contact. Please make yourself available to speak with Internal Affairs to ensure complete and accurate information is documented.”

Still waiting for Internal Affairs

On March 7, Shelly Zimmerman granted me an interview in her seventh-floor office at police headquarters. It was three days after the city council confirmed her appointment as San Diego’s new police chief. Most of the notes she sounded that day have been aired publicly already. But did Zimmerman know anything about the Saikali case? No, she said, but she would have Lt. Kevin Mayer, who was sitting with us, look into it.

On March 18, Mayer emailed, “Please put together some questions as to what you would like to know and we can talk tomorrow on this.”

The next morning, I emailed the following questions: “Did the male who attacked and beat Saikali commit an act of vigilantism? Did police cite or arrest any suspect other than Mr. Saikali in the incident? Did any witnesses from Fry’s Electronics tell police investigators that Saikali struck the woman or threw her down in the store? Was any surveillance video from either the Fry’s or Walmart stores able to shed light on what happened at either location?”

Within an hour, Mayer responded that he could not talk that day after all. But the rest of his email was intriguing. When police responded to the April 13, 2013, incident, he wrote, “they found a female who alleged being a victim of battery with injury that occurred inside Fry’s Electronics. The suspect was detained by the victim’s husband. The victim wanted the suspect arrested for this crime and placed him under citizen’s arrest. As a result of this citizen’s arrest, the suspect was issued a citation and released. The suspect was not booked into jail and therefore his name is not a matter of public record. Officers documented related evidence, witness statements and statements by those involved. Due to the severity of the injury to the victim which was discovered after hospital treatment, the entire case was submitted to the District Attorney for prosecutorial review.”

Saikali denies that anyone in Fry’s “placed him under citizen’s arrest.” Meanwhile, more than a year afterward, the citizens’ review board waits for Internal Affairs to interview him.

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My question would be, does the couple involved have any history of this type of behavior? Because it would seem to be very unusual, and possibly indicative of prior history.

"eastlaker," I am the man who was attacked and beaten. I do not know whether the couple has a history of this, but I have always guessed that myself. The woman clearly was intent on starting a disagreement. SHE was wrong to take the shopping cart, but I thought nothing of it when it happened because it is something that happens to all of us at various times. When it does, you apologize and move on. For her to make that demeaning comment to me and then get out her telephone to record me while making antagonistic statements shows her intent to cause a big altercation.

Worse, putting the telephone at my face was menacing. No woman in our society would be expected to put up with that kind of abuse from anyone else. It is illegal to menace someone, and it was lawful of me to move the phone from my face.

Something not fully emphasized in the article is that this woman followed me by herself through the dark parking lot of Fry's Electronics, across the darker Stonecrest Boulevard, and into the dark parking lot of Walmart. She evidently was NOT afraid of me.

Also, when that car of her male companion arrived in the Walmart parking lot, and, at her direction, the male driver hit me with it, it became clear that the person she had been on the phone with while following me from Fry's to Walmart was that man. If she had been afraid, why did she not spend that time calling police? I suspect she has a habit of getting the man to beat up people.

Moreover, right after the man hit me, why did SHE immediately then jump on me from behind? Supposedly she was afraid of me.

For the above reasons, I have always felt that the whole situation was some kind of set up.

Also not mentioned in the article is that she tried to get money out of Fry's Electronics out of all of this. How do I know that? Chubb Services Corporation (the security company representing Fry's Electronics) sent me a letter dated 2013-05-06 in which I was asked to call about "Christine", who the letter identified as the woman I supposedly was representing. Someone at the company mistakenly thought that I represented the woman who attacked me. It could be that these two people pull these stunts and then try to profit financially. Had police been interested in doing a legitimate investigation, they surely would have explored your question.

The scenario you describe--a "set-up"--is exactly what I was thinking. One would think that it would be in the interest of merchants, corporate heads and local law enforcement to act in such a manner as to discourage assault and attempted extortion.

In addition, I would hope that San Diego Police would be a bit smarter about this sort of thing.

I have no legal training of any kind, but as an informal student of human behavior, what I am concluding is that this pair might have some aliases and they very well might do this sort of thing for a living.

"eastlaker" thanks for your comments. The police knew very well what they were doing. According to the Incident History document, there were 7 cops on the scene. The Reader article only mentions KEN DAVIS, because he was the worst of the Gang of 7 (Davis, Cooper, Taitague, Spencer, Shebloski, Wells, Ansari), but any of Davis' six accomplices could have done the right thing and refused to go along with this effort to frame me and cite me for my own attempted murder.

Some worthwhile questions to ask are, had this case instead been about a woman being raped in a public parking lot in view of police, would police have watched with glee? When police finally decided to get involved, would they have handcuffed the raped woman? Would they have forced her to remain lying in her own blood in front of her attackers and the bystanders to humiliate her, all the while providing comfort to the people who just raped her? Would they have denied her medical care for an hour, while giving immediate medical care to the people who just raped her? Would they have refused to cite the rapists, and protected them from legal action? When this hypothetical raped woman was eventually allowed to have medical treatment in an ambulance, would a cop have come inside, cited the woman for her own rape and told her that she deserved to be raped and deserved her injuries?

If instead of me, a man, the person attacked and beaten in this case had been a woman, a child, an elderly person, a person in a wheelchair or even a domesticated animal, would police have behaved as they did toward me?

Mr. Saikali, I hope that you are able to find some help in researching the individuals who set upon you. Documenting more than one case should certainly bring much-needed attention to what has happened, and force SDPD into at least responding to you in an above-board manner.

“eastlaker”, thank you very much for your comments. William Lansdowne and his replacement Shelley Zimmerman have kept secret the police report (which should include the identities of the perpetrators and witnesses). The two chiefs have obstructed justice in this and other ways, but this is normal in a police state.

Evidence police mistakenly did hand over identified — , but criminal charges against her male accomplice and her can only be brought by a prosecutor’s office, not a member of the public. That has not happened because district attorney BONNIE DUMANIS, in her own obstruction of justice, has protected the two perpetrators and refused to respond to communication.

Additionally, Dumanis and city attorney JAN GOLDSMITH have protected Ken Davis and the rest of the SDPD Gang of 7, thus enabling them to continue framing people. The INNOCENCE PROJECT has endless cases of wrongly accused individuals -- proven innocent years (often decades) later by DNA and other evidence -- on its plate because of cops and prosecutors illegally withholding exculpatory evidence (such as the Fry's and Walmart videos in my case) and participating in schemes to accuse the innocent. (See innocenceproject . org [Remove spaces]).

A system that is crooked by design will not correct itself. Zimmerman has tried to fool the public into trusting the SDPD by saying that cops will start wearing cameras. The public should be aware that any videos will be under the control of government and used to help shield police from prosecution, not to assist those harmed by cops. The SDPD will be able to edit or conveniently lose those videos when it benefits them. I have yet to hear Zimmerman say anything about getting rid of the SDPD Gang of 7 and others like them, nor has she said that only civilized people will be hired as cops in the future.

"Set up" is exactly what I was thinking, as soon as I finished the article, last night. The question could be why. I too have an afro. With lighter skin, when I studied Buddhism, and shaved my head, the first "Zen Lesson" I had, was the way I was suddenly treated so differently, that Skinheads started giving me the "Homie Nod". lol. Well, maybe not so lol. I had a hunch and went back and checked my records. I was having phone trouble, and went to THAT Fry's that weekend. (Can't find if it was Sat. or Sun.) I know I didn't buy anything, 'cause they didn't have what I needed, so I took the bus home. I don't know how to put this. Short version: I worked in Sorrento Valley with a former party pal of Dubya's. He then, '85, reported drug and alcohol abuse. I've had death threats and such ever since. Once or twice, I've seen stories, where someone matching my description, was ...well suffered a "suicide", that was not investigated in one case. Another was murdered. I don't know. Something weird here. Could be a coincidence. Could be...

The store should have internal security cameras, what did they show? Get a lawyer if your statement is accurate, and investigate.

"CaptainObvious", legal letters dated 2013-04-19 (6 days after the beating) were sent by certified mail to Fry's Electronics and to Walmart so that the security video recordings of the events would be indefinitely retained. However, as the article stated, I was informed by both stores that only police are allowed to see security recordings, and I of course received no assistance from police in that regard.

For over a year I have been inviting the people (police, prosecutors, and others in government) who have access to the videos to look at them. All of my requests have been ignored.

I would appreciate a qualified lawyer's involvement on my behalf. This is a case of serious violations of law by police (as well as the two assailants who police have been protecting from legal action for the past year+). What I have found, unfortunately, is that people generally are not so interested in a case of a police-approved attempted murder of an innocent man. As mentioned elsewhere, this would be handled far differently if it were a woman who had been attacked and beaten up as I was.

I would just venture a guess that "Christine's" husband might just be a police officer himself, stationed up the hill from the WalMart on Aero Drive. I am disappointed that WalMart and Fry's are both cooperating in hiding these cowards by not allowing you to have the tapes.

I am also disappointed that Ms. Zimmerman is continuing the stonewalling.

"Wabbitsd", thank you for your comments, and you bring up an interesting suggestion about the male attacker.

Regarding Shelley Zimmerman, an SDPD insider who took over as SDPD chief when William Lansdowne suddenly "retired" at the end of February 2014, she is no better than Lansdowne. City leaders hoped to fool the public into thinking that abuses by police would end if a woman were at the helm. In her four months as chief, Zimmerman has shown that it is dirty business as usual at the SDPD.

On 2014-05-06 at a public forum on the SDPD, I spoke about the beating I was subjected to and the abuses by police that followed. Shelley Zimmerman, who brought a slew of uniformed cops to the event to intimidate attendees, was sitting in the front row. If there were any decency about her, she would have approached me that evening and expressed specific action she would take to get this matter rectified. She did nothing of the sort. That did not surprise me. Anytime someone at the top of a corrupt organization publicly says that she wants her people to be investigated (as Zimmerman has been doing for months), you can count on the investigation being simply another cover-up.

The current Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the SDPD will yield nothing but more creative ways for cops to get away with their abuses. The DOJ appointed the Police Executive Research Foundation (PERF) to handle the matter. As its executive director, Chuck Wexler, said at that public forum on 2014-05-06, PERF was not retained to investigate past abuses, but just to tell the SDPD what they are doing well at and make some suggestions for improvements to policy. Policy is only part of the problem. Crucial is what goes on in practice and how indecent acts by police are always covered up by Internal Affairs, the Citizens' Review Board, and the rest of government.

It was pointed out to me that PERF's Chuck Wexler has a cozy relationship with Jerry Sanders (former SDPD chief and then mayor) and William Lansdowne. See a Voice of San Diego article posted 2014-06-25 at [remove spaces to make link work]... voiceofsandiego . org / 2014 / 06 / 25 / firm-investigating-sdpd-has-strong-ties-to-ex-chiefs/

None of this is surprising to me. It is a little surprising to find it in a Reader cover story. Joe, if you frequent San Diego, you best watch your butt. The SDPD will be looking for you and could invent some crime for which to arrest you.

The SDPD has some high spots. It did a good job with the VanDam murder and with nailing Westerfield. But on a day-to-day basis, it has never been well run, and often does a poor job of fulfilling its mission of protecting and serving. Going all the way back to Hoobler in the early 70's, it has been poorly led. Kolender, Burgreen, Sanders, Bejarano, and Lansdowne (I may have missed one) were all cut of the same cloth and ran the same kind of department.

This new chief will likely just continue the old ways. The review board is powerless, and the internal affairs department has the job of keeping the lid on abuse. If either had been on the job, Arevalos would have been stopped and purged from the ranks long before the abuses that got him fired and imprisoned, and which are now costing the city millions.

While I tend to agree that most of the cops are honest and try to do the job that the city and its residents expect, the code of silence and the unwillingness of so many of them to speak out against abusers in the ranks undermines confidence. Just promoting another one of 'em from the ranks will not reform a deeply dysfunctional department.

"Visduh", thank you for your comments. It is not surprising that cops and prosecutors might behave properly in high-profile capital cases, since they know the news media is watching closely. Bonnie Dumanis, Bill Gore, and William Lansdowne have personally appeared in frequent news conferences about those cases at such times -- Dumanis and Gore especially when an election was coming up. Yet, reporters usually are not present when cops interact with the public, and cops (and prosecutors too) normally lie to cover for each other. Oddly, the general public seems to be ok with that.

Shelley Zimmerman indeed has shown herself to be just a reincarnation of Lansdowne. Any decent cop or prosecutor who wants to speak out about corruption in their ranks ought to promptly do so or promptly resign. By supporting a "code of silence", they are no better than those who their silence protects.

And apparently they blew the Belevedere Christmas Eve killing.

I also recall when some guy approached Bejarano's daughter in a Dept Store. He was almost immediately arrested.

Just finished reading the whole story in the Reader. I found it completely appalling. Basically an out-of-control woman escalates a verbal disagreement by sicking her psycho male companion to assault Mr. Saikali with a vehicle, as well as his fists, then jumps on the victim's back causing herself to sustain an injury resulting from her own negligence. And San Diego police charge Mr. Saikali? Reaaaal nice.

Clearly Saikali should have retained an attorney the second after it all went down and it became clear that SPDP was going to railroad him. The officers involved in the original case and IA complaint sounded like they were completely incompetent to even return a phone call from Saikali, much less conduct a proper police investigation. I hope the DA's office has a tad more ability to do what we pay them for, but after hearing this story I doubt any section of the SD government does.

Here's a clue for detectives, go to Frye's and Wally World, pull the security tapes, and see if any attack was done by Mr. Saikali. There, was that so hard?

After reading the other comments, edited to add: Mr. Saikali stop trying to conduct this investigation yourself and hire a criminal defense attorney. A retainer will cost money, but nothing like having a felony battery conviction will cost you in the long run. An attorney can get info and movement on the case you can't.

Yes, he needs a good attorney. But he needs one (or two) because he has a defense need, and also wants to pursue a complaint. Those are actually two separate, if inexorably linked, matters.

But don't confuse the inaction by Internal Affairs with incompetence. The inaction is by design. "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil."

“klsandiego”, thank you very much for commenting. The woman (Christine) should have been cited and arrested for assault, felony battery, slander, arousing a mob to commit murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and hate crimes. Her male accomplice should have been cited and arrested for assault with a deadly weapon (vehicular hit), felony battery, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and hate crimes. Instead, the bigoted SDPD Gang of 7 cops praised these two for their crimes and covered for them by citing me.

The SDPD and district attorney’s office have worked in concert to cover this up. This kind of thing happens a lot, only the public rarely hears about it. Since the courts are prone to protect cops, attorneys thus far have been unwilling to take the case. Moreover, an innocent man getting horrifically beaten apparently does not garner the public empathy that a woman in the same (or far less serious) circumstance would -- even worse for a dark-skinned man.

I have been asking for the videos for over a year. Police and prosecutors are not interested in them because they will show that the male-hating woman (Christine) started all of this and lied about what occurred.

Mr. Saikali, I have no reason to doubt anything you have stated here. I still urge you to seek out counsel. Police and the DA can stonewall lowly citizens like us. But an attorney representing you will be able to make things happen. Don't ask me why there's a double-standard, there just is. I know this first-hand, having been a victim of false allegations myself, and having a good attorney saved my backside. As a minority it's clear you know the odds are stacked against you. You need the best defense you can afford. If the DA prosecutes and wins, that opens you up to civil litigation for damages as well. I admire and respect your willingness to fight this battle on your own, but now is not the time for that. E-mail me and I can give you the info for my attorney who was outstanding.

FYI a good law office will also know private investigators they can leverage to seek out surveillance tapes, witnesses, etc. to further bolster your case. You don't need to do this all yourself man, hire professionals.

Why hate crime? Were racial or ethnic epithets involved on their part?

Note: The first (and only) time I ever heard anything about the female attacker supposedly having a broken wrist was in the 2013-09-16 letter (referred to in the Reader article) from the district attorney's office.

The same letter (unsigned and lacking the name of its author) from the Special Operations division of the DA's office says nothing about my injuries (at least two of which are permanent), says nothing about the fact that the female attacker instigated this whole matter, and says nothing about the multiple crimes that her male accomplice and she engaged in during the events leading to and involved in this police-approved attempted murder.

In the hospital, while I was on a gurney with an orderly in a hallway awaiting an examination room, a woman on a gurney was wheeled past me. At that time, I heard its female occupant talking aloud about her man being a martial arts expert, but I have never said that I heard anything in the hospital about "Christine" supposedly having a broken wrist.

Noteworthy is the extent to which police discouraged me from having my severe injuries examined and treated. At the scene, I was denied any medical attention for about an hour (according to times recorded on various documents) despite an ambulance being on the scene and despite my repeated requests from the time that the first of SDPD’s bigoted Gang of 7 members arrived. That was a violation of basic human and civil rights. After the first ambulance left, I had to continue asking for medical care before one cop finally relented and summoned another ambulance. When it arrived, cops persisted in “advising” me to NOT be seen by any medical personnel before finally allowing me to struggle on my own to get from the police car to the ambulance. One cop actually volunteered his assessment that I did not have a concussion. Upon my inquiry, he admitted that he was not a medical professional. That the conduct of the cops was saturated in hate is confirmed by SDPD Internal Affairs falsely stating on its 2013-08-02 Complaint Control Form that I was never injured in this matter.

Interesting story. Don't know what to make of it other than you got screwed by the system, big time. Any chance your assailant might have been an off duty cop? That seems possible, since you still don't have the identity of your attacker. That would certainly explain what is obviously a cover up. Good luck with your case. Keep at it. Make sure they know you're not going away.

"elvishasleftsandiego", thank you for your comments. Another reader made the same suggestion, that the male perpetrator may be a cop himself. If true, it is easy to envision other cops taking pleasure in watching one of their own in the process of murdering an innocent person and then lying to cover for that colleague.

I do not know whether the male attacker was a cop. I do know that the uniformed cops who arrived made no effort to urgently intervene in the vicious beating, during all of which I was face-down flat on the pavement. There were no sounds of screeching police cars, no sounds of cops identifying themselves, no sounds of cops shouting to the perpetrators to stop, and cops did not yank these people off of my person. To police, this apparently was quite entertaining.

Being in a situation where one is suddenly beaten, I don't think one would be listening for particular sounds in my immediate area as my first priority. That said, I understand your point and sincerely hope you can advance with this case.

I am very concerned about Fry's and WalMart's lack of concern for the safety of their shoppers in not cooperating with this investigation. May I suggest anyone else who has similar concerns take up a phone, call the two managers of these stores, and ask why they are not providing the security footage to this man as requested? I also suggest mentioning that you will not be shopping at these locations until a resolution of this problem. Maybe Mr. Saikali was not blameless in this altercation, but I think we all deserve a better response than what has been given so far from Ms. Zimmerman, the entire San Diego Police Department, and these two retail establishments, at the very least.

Mr. Davis certainly has his issues, and if he continues to abuse his position, there certainly seems to be a pattern that a good, determined, high profile attorney might take great glee in exploiting. Ms. Gloria Allred comes to my mind immediately.

Regarding "Murphy Canyon Mystery",

1) STEREOTYPES/PREJUDICE. Society is deluged with perceptions that females are always victims and males are always villains. These stereotypes must end. The acceptance of females falsely accusing males and police presumptions of male guilt also must end. There are numerous examples of innocent men imprisoned until their convictions were overturned due to DNA and other evidence and help from the Innocence Project or other. Many cases involved females fabricating/embellishing stories or instigating violence and then playing a victim (with self-inflicted harm). Violence against males by female aggressors occurs far more than is reported, but research exposing this is beyond the political agendas of most governmental, educational, and private entities. These abuses are treated as funny by entertainment media instead of decried.

2) MENACING WITH DEVICES. Cop KEN DAVIS [...] indicated that a man who moves a device of a dangerous woman from his face deserves to be killed. None of the rest of the SDPD Gang of 7 objected to Davis’ hateful comments, nor did they stop Davis from citing me. It stands to reason, then, that cops should welcome people shoving devices in their faces, taunting them, and being menacing, right? See this link for an SDPD cop beating someone up for doing far less and the cop calling a phone a “weapon”: link text

3) POLICE MISCONDUCT/COVER-UPS. The legal system allows cops to falsely cite anyone and protects them under “qualified immunity”. The system assumes an accused person from the non-elite is likely guilty, and police are given a wink to go on running the streets however they wish. Police tampering with, planting, or ignoring evidence, beating people, lying, extorting, committing sexual attacks, and murdering are protectable acts by police unions. An example is the police execution of Kelly Thomas: link text

The idea that police have stress and so they need to commit crimes defies reason. On that basis, iron workers, tax accountants, and others should be so privileged. Far too many police are hot-tempered and treat the public as subservient to them. In reaction, some in the public assume the role of sycophant.

To say it is ok for police to lie for each other to cover up crimes also lacks reason. Almost anytime we in the public interact with government, we are forced to sign our names under penalty of perjury. Meanwhile, those in government are not required to do the same, and can lie with impunity. Cover-ups by cops and prosecutors to protect cops who commit domestic violence was investigated by Frontline: link text



4) FALSELY CITING A VICTIM. Felony battery is the wilful, unlawful infliction of force/violence that causes serious damage to physical condition. Police did not cite/arrest the male-female team of perpetrators with felony battery for the acute bodily injuries they caused me. Instead, consistent with a pattern of hate, the SDPD cited me for misdemeanor battery and then secretly raised it to felony battery. No reason was ever provided to me for either citation. The custom of issuing bogus citations must end. Police should be obliged to quickly supply the accused with a written, specific basis for a citation or they should suffer the maximum penalty their false accusation deserves. With baseless accusations, the district attorney’s office rejected the case against me and no charges were filed in court against me.

SDPD deliberately citing the victim in this case served two depraved purposes:

a. It kept police and the perpetrators of my beating from prosecution, as Oscar GARCIA (deputy district attorney) said my being cited made all other facts irrelevant, and then ended the call; and

b. It denied me access to the legal system of assistance normally due a victim. On this, Cynthia CHARLEBOIS, who heads the victim assistance unit in the district attorney’s office, said that I was not a victim in my horrific beating. Internal Affairs stated likewise on its falsified Complaint Control Form (shown in Deegan's article), while admitting possession of photographs (including those taken by police at the scene and a nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital that night) of severe injuries to my head, face, eyes, and body from the beating. I asked Charlebois if she would say that to a woman who was raped before bystanders and who police watched with glee being raped. Charlebois ended the call. Paul AZEVEDO, chief of the district attorney’s special operations division, backed Charlebois and was silent when faced with the same question.

Investigatory work is arduous. It demands an unbiased style, rejects premature conclusions, carefully seeks all evidence, and examines evidence with a desire for truth. It does not try to force evidence to conform to assumptions. It should not be about laziness or bigotry. SDPD’s [...] Ken DAVIS (#4319) and his accomplices (Eric COOPER #6523, Geraldine TAITAGUE #6151, Kristopher SPENCER #6811, Stephen SHEBLOSKI #5317, Adam WELLS #6204, Addam ANSARI #6865) who comprise the Gang of 7 showed no interest in legitimate investigatory work. Add Internal Affairs’ cover-up artists Tim SALENS and Shawn TAKEUCHI to that list.

Yet, these actors operate with the blessings of Kevin FAULCONER (mayor), Todd GLORIA (city council president, past interim mayor), William LANSDOWNE (past police chief), Shelley ZIMMERMAN (police chief), Bonnie DUMANIS (district attorney), Jan GOLDSMITH (city attorney), and others in the crooked San Diego power structure who claim to be “public servants”.

Saikaki - While I wanted to believe your story, your now (in comments) rants against "The System" (Lansdowne, Zimmerman, Dumanis, et al) doesn't bode well in the court of public opinion. You have elevated your plight from what was originally in the article - seeking justice for yourself, righting a wrong - to now in your comments blaming everyone from the mayor to the clerk at Fryes. Your original story now has zero credibility as it appears you used the reporter to go after a higher cause.

If you truly want individual justice and compensation for yourself, it can be done lawyer-less in Small Claims Court, where, for less than $100, sue Frys, subpoena them for records relating to the case prior to the trial, and subpoena the clerk to appear. His testimony of the first minute of your altercation is what will decide the case. (One can sue in SC for up to $7,500 for medical bills/lost wages, can't sue for pain and suffering.)

The subpoena records will also contain info on John Doe and "Christine" Doe, which might help you follow up with the agencies you claim have rallied against you.

I do commend you however, for not making race part of the on-going story. It doesn't matter in this case, and you're obviously intelligent enough to know that. Hope you find the true justice you seek, reminder that "justice" also aligns itself with "understanding" and "harmony" as its companions.

"Ken Harrison", there is far more to the story than The Reader article had room for. That is why I revealed more information in comments. Mr. Deegan was not "used". I gave him my account, answered his many questions, and turned over supporting documentation. Another of The San Diego Reader's senior staff members also interviewed me. My account of the events has not wavered. It was up to Mr. Deegan and his editors to decide whether to report on this.

When wrongs occur, it is easy to complain without making effort to inform people in authority. The individuals mentioned ("Lansdowne, Zimmerman, Dumanis, et al", as you put it) were contacted or closely involved. They have had ample time over the past 15 months to respond and to, per their duties to us in the public, do their best to repair the wrongs. None have done anything of the sort. That fact is an important part of the story that readers deserved to hear.

Small claims court was not an adequate forum for this case. The maximum civil penalty (actually $10,000) would hardly address the damages and expenses incurred, the discovery process available in higher courts is not at all the same in small claims court, and the police report would not have been turned over to me. (Even if the SDPD agreed to give any part of the report to the court, names and contact details of the perpetrators and witnesses would have been blacked out).

If anyone in the "court of public opinion", as you put it, wants to disbelieve my story, that is her/his decision, but it will not be because s/he was denied information about the extent of the corruption. When public officials engage in wrong or fail to intervene in it, they deserve to be exposed. Corruption eventually harms all of us in various ways.

An incredibly one-sided tale. Where's the other side? The idea that strange women, mysterious martial-arts experts, cops, Frys, etc. are all involved in a conspiracy to screw this guy is a little far-fetched.

Thank you, it is hard to believe the READER, Joe Deegan and it's editor would even publish such a fabricated story with out checking the facts.The so called "Victim" is 180 pounds 6"2 and I am 93 pounds 5"2,oh yeah and I am a FEMALE.

Tell the TRUTH JEFFREY SAIKALI. You claim you were "left in a pool of your own blood" yet the picture on the cover shows scratches from me fighting you off of me in the Walmart parking lot when you threw me to ground a second time. There was not one STITCH in the photo or in your LIES. How was my wrist fractured? Why did you leave out the other man that had to hold your legs down until police arrived? Because he was a African american and the Racial card wouldn't work? How can you hear me brag that my husband was a so called "martial arts expert" from Scripps hospital when I was in Sharp? YOUR A SICK PERSON LEAVE ME ALONE!

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