Paddy’s wagon

A man arrested for disturbing the peace in downtown Chico on St. Patrick’s Day told the City Council in open forum last week that he is actually a victim of assault who was mistakenly rounded up by callous cops following a flawed zero-tolerance policy. Chico police said they were only following procedure and that anybody going downtown during student celebrations should know they might be putting themselves in danger.

Farahmad said his ordeal began when he was followed from Normal St. Bar at about 2 p.m. March 17 by a couple of guys who had earlier tried to start a fight with him. Farahmad and his female companion left the bar after one of those men allegedly called the woman “a bitch,” he said, but the men followed him to his truck, where they allegedly attacked him. Farahmad said he was punched several times before he began to defend himself.

When police arrived, he said, he had gained the upper hand in the fight, prompting police to arrest him as well as one of the other men involved. He said police refused to listen to his account of the fight and failed to arrest his other assailant. His story is backed up by the woman who was with him at the time, who was interviewed by the CN&R but asked that her name be withheld.

“The cops immediately, I think, presumed I was the guilty party,” Farahmad said. “I’m a big guy, my shirt was ripped, I was all bloody. … All the little things added up. I think they just took the biggest guy.”

Farahmad, who said his blood alcohol level was .01 percent when he was arrested, was cuffed and placed in a patrol car, then booked at police headquarters. He was transferred from there to the county jail in Oroville and was released around 9 p.m., he said. The next day, he went back to police headquarters to complain about his treatment, where he claims he was told the incident was his fault, as he shouldn’t have been downtown at the time. Carillo, who spoke to Farahmad that day, said he merely told him what he tells everybody else.

“It’s my canned speech—I’ve told it to people for years. It’s a dangerous place, you don’t want to be down there. I don’t like being down there,” he said. “We had two officers assaulted on St. Patrick’s Day. One officer was kicked in the chest; another officer was attacked by two brothers downtown. The officer was fighting for his life down there—it’s just not a very safe place.”

Farahmad maintains he was a crime victim who didn’t deserve to be locked in a drunk tank all day. He’ll have a chance to clear his name in court April 22.