Person not charged in DV case

  • by Seth Hemmelgarn
  • Wednesday January 24, 2018
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San Francisco prosecutors opted this week not to formally charge a gender nonconforming person who'd been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and other charges.

Davia Spain, 23, who works at the city's LGBT community center, was supported by many LGBTs after she was booked into custody Friday after an incident involving someone she'd dated.

Authorities said that Spain reported that she and the complaining witness had had an amicable dating relationship for about three months.

But Spain reportedly changed her mind about the nature of the relationship and went to see the complaining witness. A confrontation ensued in which both Spain and the complaining witness suffered visible marks. Spain is reportedly several inches taller and about 65 pounds heavier than the other person.

Witnesses gave differing accounts of what happened, according to the authorities.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi said that based on his office's investigation, he was "confident that Davia acted in self-defense and is innocent of these charges."

Spain, who declined to be interviewed for this story, had been "forced to defend herself" and was "not the attacker or the aggressor," said Adachi, who didn't have more detailed information to share.

Along with felony domestic violence, Spain was also accused of misdemeanor battery and first-degree residential burglary and booked into custody at about 4:30 a.m. Friday, according to the sheriff's department.

But Monday afternoon, Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said that the agency had decided not to file charges in the case.

"We make our charging decisions based upon the facts and the law," said Bastian.

Spain's case drew about 100 people to the steps of the Hall of Justice Monday morning. More than 1,800 people signed an online petition urging the DA's office to drop the charges "due to lack of evidence and based on systemic prejudice," and activists planned to deliver signatures to the DA's office after the event.

Trans activist Jordan Davis, who attended the rally, told the B.A.R. that she doesn't know Spain, and she doesn't know the specifics of the case, but she said Spain "is a transgender woman of color jailed on bullshit charges. That's all I need to know. ... She survived an abuser and she was punished for it."

Many supporters held signs that said "#Free Davia" and posed for a group photo. One activist read a statement from Spain in which she said, "I am magic. I am power. ... I am capable of achieving great things in this life."

Despite the public nature of the large rally, organizer Danielle West said she was "not interested" in having the B.A.R. cover it, citing unspecified complaints about the past work of the reporter who approached her.

Others at the rally included Adachi, transgender school board candidate Mia Satya, gay City College of San Francisco trustee Tom Temprano and Rebecca Rolfe, executive director of the LGBT community center, where Spain works as a trans employment program associate. Temprano and Rolfe both refused to speak to the B.A.R.

Other activists told the reporter not to photograph the rally, followed him around, and interrupted him as he tried to interview people.

Spain told the B.A.R. in 2015 that she identifies as gender nonconforming, but supporters have referred to her using feminine pronouns.

Records indicate that she was released Monday night, and she was jailed under the first name "David." Her Facebook page says her name is "Davia Amerasu Spain."