Chico man charges arrest was racially motivated

Evelyn Thomas is angry, and she doesn’t care who knows it.

She charges that the Chico Police Department singled out her grandson, Trevoris Thomas, because he is African American while arresting him on June 18.

She acknowledges that on that morning Thomas and his friend Donte Green went to the home of an acquaintance, Nicholas Jackson, to buy a small amount of marijuana. Somehow, during their encounter, according to legal papers filed with Butte County, Green and Thomas found out that Jackson had $800 in cash in the house. Jodea Foster, Thomas’ attorney, acknowledges in a motion to dismiss charges against his client that, a couple of hours after buying the marijuana from Jackson, Green and Thomas went back to Jackson’s house and apparently stole the cash from Jackson.

Later that afternoon, Jackson and several of his friends, carrying baseball bats, found Green and Thomas at the Chico Mall, where they allegedly surrounded them and threatened them while yelling racial epithets. According to court documents, they allegedly broke the windows of Thomas’ Lexus and several cars parked around it.

Chico police broke up the ensuing fight and ended up arresting Thomas and Green and letting Jackson and his friends go, court papers report, despite allegations that the four white men had threatened Green and Thomas with baseball bats and vandalized several cars.

“There is sufficient evidence that Mr. Thomas is being prosecuted because he is black, and the crimes of the white males will go unpunished because they are white,” Foster, Thomas’ attorney, wrote in a motion to dismiss the charge against Thomas.

Thomas and Green were charged with residential burglary. Thomas is still being held in Butte County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Evelyn Thomas said that, although her grandson “may have done some things that were wrong,” that doesn’t excuse Jackson and his friends from threatening Thomas with baseball bats and vandalizing his car.

“It was a racial arrest,” she said, “pure and simple.”

Chico Police Department Lt. Tim Voris said the police report on the incident reports that Jackson and his friends weren’t arrested because their actions were in retaliation for the previous alleged robbery. He added that while they did carry baseball bats, no one was hit with them, and the car windows appeared to have been broken by Thomas and Green, not Jackson and his friends.

Foster’s motion to dismiss the case against Thomas will be heard Nov. 15 in Oroville.