Jan. 10 - KGO
- There are new complaints that the San Francisco Police Department is mishandling the New Year's Eve attack on a Yale University singing group. Several of the young men went to the hospital with serious injuries. The I-Team first broke this story Monday.
There are questions about how police handled the case that night and how they're handling it today. This is blowing up into a national controversy about how San Francisco treated the best and brightest from Yale.
Video from YouTube
shows the Yale a capella group, The Baker's Dozen, on the Los Angeles leg of their winter concert tour. They are there right now, recovering from the beating they got in San Francisco.
Wendy Soderburg, Hosted "The Baker's Dozen": "And I can't believe that the city hasn't stepped up to the plate and done something immediately about it."
Wendy Soderburg invited The Baker's Dozen to stay at her home over New Year's. She arranged a party in the group's honor hosted by her daughter and another recent graduate of Saint Ignatius Prep.
The trouble began when some Sacred Heart graduates crashed the party, and by many reports, became jealous at the attention the young men from Yale were receiving. They repeatedly tried to start a fight.
Sharyar Aziz: "We even told them, 'What are you trying to prove?' We have nothing to prove. We're not looking for a fight, this is borderline ridiculous."
Nineteen year-old Richard Aicardi, wearing a Santa hat at the party
, called in reinforcements and a nearby surveillance camera caught one vehicle that brought some of the attackers. They ganged up on the members of The Baker's Dozen as they trickled out of the party.
Sharyar Aziz: "It just kind of seemed like forever while I was on the ground, getting kicked and assaulted."
Sharyar Aziz's jaw was broken in two places. He had to be rushed back to New York for reconstructive surgery. His jaw is wired shut.
Other members of the group suffered black eyes, scrapes, a severely sprained ankle and a serious concussion.
Police arrived and the dispatch sheet obtained by the I-Team shows they detained Sacred Heart graduates Brian Dwyer, Marino Peradotto, James Aicardi and Michael Aicardi. They apparently did not detain their brother, Rich Aicardi. Police let all the suspects go.
Dean Johnson, ABC7 Legal Analyst: "Police can arrest anytime that they believe have probable cause to believe a felony was committed."
Former San Mateo County prosecutor and ABC7 legal analyst, Dean Johnson, explains.
Dean Johnson: "They should have let the suspects sit in jail overnight and if these suspects are entitled to bail, if they're essentially good kids who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, if they have no records, if they're no danger to society, the judge on the afternoon arraignment calendar can sort all of that out later."
It especially troubles Johnson that the police failed to take photographs of the injuries. The couple who owned the home where the party took place took these pictures
. And it bothers him that police failed to interview the victims.
Now, 10 days later, investigators are demanding that the young men pay their way back to San Francisco to be interviewed. One investigator told a parent, "the kids are affluent, so they can afford it." The Baker's Dozen's attorney says it's ridiculous.
Whitney Leigh, Gonzalez & Leigh Law Firm: "The notion that the police should now put the burden on the families or on these kids to fly back to San Francisco, a place they're now afraid to come to frankly, doesn't seem to make any sense to me."
Also today, a development that the police and mayor's office may not welcome -- former San Francisco prosecutor Jim Hammer has joined the team of attorneys for The Baker's Dozen.
Whitney Leigh: "He's got such great detailed expertise and knowledge, particularly about how the San Francisco criminal justice system is supposed to work."
We caught up to Chief Heather Fong this evening outside the police commission meeting. She defended her officers not arresting the suspects the night of the attack.
Heather Fong, SFPD Chief: "When they detained them, they identified those individuals, and when the officers tried to get information as to specifically what did the individuals do, where were the injuries, if there were injuries, there were no individuals who provided additional information."
But members of The Baker's Dozen tell the I-Team they did identify the suspects and were available just a few doors down the street and that the police knew that.
Fucking Gay Ruffians
abc7news.com: SFPD Under Fire Over Yale Choir Assault