'Justice for Josiah' Asks For Better Police Training and Case Updates

Sep 7, 2017

Charmaine Lawson (center) holds papers filled with signatures from students and community members to demand better law enforcement procedures during events like her son, David Josiah Lawson's death.
Credit Natalya Estrada

The Arcata City Council was met with a full house this Wednesday as Humboldt State Students, Arcata residents and Charmaine Lawson, mother of David Josiah Lawson who was killed at a party in April, filled the council chambers asking for more answers to a case that has lasted close to five months.  Charmaine Lawson was accompanied by friends and family as she presented a petition with a thousand signatures from students and community members from Humboldt County and Lawson’s hometown in Southern California’s Inland Empire.

“The phone call I received that early morning of April 15th, I don’t want that for any other parent. And that is why I have the signatures here to make sure that that does not happen,” she said. “Black people are not scary people. I’m not sure why the ambulance and the police officers did not render aid to my son as soon as they got there. Crowd control. That’s what I was told. That’s very disturbing.”

The reward for Lawson’s killer, according to Charmaine Lawson has increased from $21 thousand to $50 thousand and has caught more attention from the state, including a San Francisco based attorney, Kendra Miller.

“A resident of Humboldt County sent me the story on April 16th when it hit the news. When I found out about the story I reached out to Brother’s United. They reached back and now I’ve decided to come on a pro-bono basis,” Miller said. “We’re not going anywhere until we get a resolution.”

City Staff was joined by Police Chief Tom Chapman who was repeatedly questioned by HSU students and Arcata community members about updates and status reports about the case. One key question was whether or not the department would renounce a fake Craigslist ad that accused HSU Brother’s United member and close friend of Lawson as a suspect. Chapman dismissed the Craigslist post and said it was untrue.

Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman reports the latest information form their investigation on catching the person who killed Humboldt State University student David Josiah Lawson.
Credit Natalya Estrada

“It is trying to make a decision about whether or not you give legitimacy and credit to what amounts to a troll,” Chapman said. “It was a made up, make believe, B-S story.”

The council further offered support for the crowd to come and express their thoughts and opinions on the case in a separate meeting next week. Charmaine Lawson who will not be in town next week said she is speaking Thursday at a press conference.