An ambulance outside of the Mad River Hospital Photo credit: Reza Sadeghzadeh

Frustration is not hostility


By | Reza Sadeghzadeh

It has been almost five months since the death of David Josiah Lawson. Yet, there are still some controversial questions lingering in the minds of students regarding Arcata’s first responders that handled the emergency call on the morning of April 15. Namely, why did it take so long for the medical responders to show up to the scene?

As we all know, this horrendous incident took place on Spear Ave., which is right around the corner from Mad River Community Hospital. However, the ambulance arrived on the scene about 25 minutes after the arrival of law enforcement. The justification for the tardiness of the medical responders was based on the alleged hostility of the crowd.

During Kyle Zoellner’s preliminary hearing, an Arcata police officer said in their testimony that the hostile crowd of students at the time law enforcement arrived was using offensive language such as “fuck the police,” but their claim lacked validity. The words used by some of the individuals at the time did not provoke any threatening actions towards the police officers and their colleagues. Thus, they misread the frustration and worry of the students as hostility. Even though I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Arcata Police Department, I would argue that on the morning of April 15, some of the police officers forgot their top priority, that is to serve and protect the ones in need.

One thing that the community of Arcata needs to be aware of is the decrease in enrollment at HSU, which ultimately affects Humboldt County. I would encourage the city officials to work with the university to create an environment where every student feels safe and receive adequate attention during an emergency. What happened to Josiah is unacceptable and what is even worse is that there have been no official discussions about the faults of the first responders. I advise the university and the community of Arcata to maintain his legacy as an admired student leader who had great intentions. Lastly, my heart and prayers go out to Josiah’s family and friends.

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One Comment

  1. Joe Joe Tuesday, September 12, 2017

    It didn’t take long for first responders to get there. Elijah Chandler’s statement to North Coast News saying that has been shown to be a lie. North Coast Journal published the timeline and the radio traffic can be heard online. Arcata PD was there in less than a minute, Arcata Fire was there in about five minutes with CPR in progress with an AED applied by APD. The ambulance was there shortly after and he was on the way to the hospital within 10-15 minute of the call being received. That’s pretty amazing considering that there was a near riot occurring at the scene. Be a journalist. Report the facts. Don’t reproduce lies that have already been disproven by other sources.

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