No indictment, but APD Chief vows to bring justice
By: T.William Wallin and Freddy Brewster
Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming announced that there will not be any charges filed in regard to the 2017 murder of Josiah Lawson. A Grand Jury met on Feb. 28 and reviewed “testimony from 25 witnesses, including experts in forensics and DNA,” according to a released statement.
Arcata chief of police Brian Ahearn said that he takes full responsibility for the shortcomings in the investigation and has called for additional witnesses to come forward.
“I have fallen short and have not delivered a final product to hold someone accountable for murder,” Ahearn said. “We need witnesses to come forward and we need the public’s help.”
HSU student activist and member of Justice for Josiah Deema Hindawi was dismayed by the announcement.
“I feel sick to my stomach, I am disgusted and feel betrayed,” Hindawi said. “A black man was murdered. What we are learning here at HSU is that there is system that only works for certain people.”
Josiah Lawson was stabbed multiple times at an off-campus party in Arcata on April 15, 2017. Since the beginning of the investigation there has been controversy involving how the Arcata Police Department handled the homicide.
Former APD chief of police, Thomas Chapman abruptly resigned in 2018 as well as former FBI special investigator Tom Parker. Parker resigned due to frustration with how the case was being handled, and said it was “clear [APD] was holding back things and not telling me the truth.”
Chief Ahearn is new to the Arcata Police Department having started in late 2018. However, he has pledged to bring justice.
“We are not going to rest until justice is brought to Josiah,” Ahearn said. “We are going to solve this case, we are not going to give up. We will get this. This investigation is far from over.”
Humboldt State will be offering support in the Jolly Giant Commons this evening from 7 to 11 p.m.