Davis Police Chief Apologizes to Asian American Doctor for Suspected Racial Bias

Davis Police Chief Apologizes to Asian American Doctor for Suspected Racial Bias
Bryan Ke
July 27, 2020
Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel has offered his apologies to Dr. Khoa Lam for a suspected racial bias incident earlier this month.
What happened: A White woman and man — now colloquially known as Karen and Ken — called the police on Dr. Lam on July 10 while he was outside Facetiming his wife when he was visiting his parents in Davis, California.
  • The woman, who lives at the Moore Village Apartments, questioned Dr. Lam’s presence in the area and asked him to leave.
  • Hours later, the same woman called her male neighbor to confront the Asian American doctor.
  • He called the police on him, but the authorities failed to investigate the incident properly.
  • Davis police launched a review to investigate the complaint, police chief Pytel told NextShark via email.
Review results: Pytel apologized to Dr. Lam in a letter sent to him on July 22 where the police chief admitted the errors of the officers who responded to the call.
  • The officers who responded, one of them identified as Officer Morgan Hatcher, failed to listen to Dr. Lam’s side of the incident, saying that “The officers could have devoted more time to active listening, especially since it appeared you wanted to talk, explain, and also express your frustration,” adding, “This would have also allowed you to clearly articulate why you believed there was bias involved.”
  • Hatcher and the other responding officer also fell short in conflict resolution and one of the officers attempted to use humor in the sensitive situation, which “should have been avoided; a more sympathetic tone should have been used.”
  • The officer also appeared to have a lack of patience in dealing with the situation, according to the letter.
  • Even before the incident, Pytel said they had already developed a course on bias-by-proxy, and this “event serves as a reminder of how important it is to develop the curriculum, with urgency, and ensure that all Department members receive the training.”
  • “I appreciate you bringing this entire matter to our attention and for taking the time to thoroughly explain what troubled you,” Pytel said in his closing remark. “I do sincerely apologize for all that occurred and the harm you suffered. As you requested, I can assure you we will use this as a valuable learning opportunity.”
Feature Image Screenshot via Khoa Lam
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