Witnesses reported seeing the family SUV moving near a sedan that had been damaged. Three days later, Officer Ly came to the family's home at 9:30 p.m. on a school night and arrested Halema in her pajamas, charging her with misdemeanor hit-and-run. More than a hundred people crowded into the city council meeting to express their outrage.
Contentious City Council Meeting
By Dan Noyes
Apr. 12 - KGO - Protesters came out in force at the Davis city council meeting Tuesday night. They're outraged by the arrest of a Muslim teenager over a minor fender bender. The girl's family is accusing the Davis police of racial discrimination. The ABC7 I-Team first broke this story last month.
The Davis city council got an earful over the arrest of a Muslim teenager in a minor fender bender.
Mansur Zahir, UC Davis student: "When I'm out late at night, I think about how afraid I am of the police, not how afraid I am of my fellow citizens."
Davis police officer Pheng Ly arrested Halema Buzayan for misdemeanor hit and run, even though her mother insisted she was driving in a parking lot last June.
Najat Buzayan, mother: "Yes, I was driving -- not Halema. Halema was with me in the car."
Witnesses reported seeing the family SUV moving near a sedan that had been damaged. No one in the SUV recalled a collision, but the Buzayans cut a check for $870 for repairs to settle the issue.
Three days later, Officer Ly came to the family's home at 9:30 p.m. on a school night and arrested Halema in her pajamas, charging her with misdemeanor hit-and-run.
Steven Baissa, UC Davis Cross Cultural Center: "It's truly a sad testament to a city that we allow a 16-year-old to suffer like this."
More than a hundred people crowded into the city council meeting to express their outrage.
Jann Murray-Garcia, Davis resident: "The city council and the Davis police should have apologized to this young woman and her family a long time ago. They should apologize today."
Davis police chief Jim Hyde left the room before the public comments, but he defended the arrest of Halema Buzayan and the actions of his officer.
Dan Noyes, ABC7 I-Team: "Do you have confidence in Officer Ly, his capabilities, his judgment?"
Jim Hyde, Davis police chief: "I have confidence in Officer Ly, and the D.A. has confidence in Office Ly, and the city has confidence in Officer Ly -- yes, we do."
Still, Halema Buzayan and her parents were moved by the show of support.
Halema Buzayan, accused of hit-and-run: "It's such a wonderful feeling to know that you have so many people behind you and supporting you."
The criminal case could be dismissed at a hearing next week. But the matter's not over. Attorneys for the family are preparing a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Davis and Yolo County.
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