San Francisco police defend handling
of Yale choir attack
Screenshot courtesy KGO-TVDT
By Brigid Gaffikin, Bay City News Service
January 13, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco police Chief Heather
Fong yesterday issued a statement refuting claims that the Police
Department is not investigating with sufficient urgency a fight
in the city's Richmond District on New Year's Day that has garnered
a lot of public attention.
Police first got calls at 12:43 a.m. about the fight in the 100
block of 15th Avenue, Sgt. Neville Gittens said. Those involved
in fight had come from a party at a nearby home, he said.
Officers responding to the area were approached by a group of
people who pointed at four others, saying they had been involved
in the fight, Gittens said.
Police detained the four but when they went to speak with the
first group, who had fingered the four apparent suspects, they
had all left, he said.
It later came to police attention that some people at the party
were Yale University students, members of the choral group The
Baker's Dozen, he said.
"Members of the group were involved in the fight,"
On its Web site, the group urged a swift resolution to the investigation,
saying, "The Baker's Dozen are deeply disturbed by the events
of New Year's Eve, a violent and unprovoked attack on members
of the group while sharing their music with San Francisco residents
as part of a West Coast concert tour."
Gittens said that immediately after the fight, with nobody available
to make a complaint to police about any criminal activity that
might have taken place, the four were identified and released.
No arrests have been made in the investigation.
Fong said police are continuing to look into what she described
as a "violent attack."
"The San Francisco Police Department is committed to conducting
a diligent, thorough and unbiased investigation, which necessitates
obtaining all of the facts surrounding the incident. Because it
is necessary to interview all persons concerned -- and there are
over 50 -- the investigation necessarily takes time. Once the
investigation is complete, it will be submitted to the district
attorney's office," Fong said.
"A great deal of misinformation regarding this case has
been disseminated by persons who do not have full knowledge of
the events or the investigation. The San Francisco Police Department
is determined to identify those individuals who are responsible
for the injuries sustained by the victims."
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