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Arcata Responds to Criticisms of Lawson Investigation


The city of Arcata issued a news release about the David Josiah Lawson homicide investigation late Monday. KHSU had offered a one-hour interview to city officials to respond to KHSU's and the North Coast Journal's interviews with former FBI agent Tom Parker and Arcata civil rights attorney Shelley Mack.

Parker had been a consultant to the city in the case until last week, when he resigned, saying the city had not followed his recommendations or kept him fully informed. In today's news release, the city seems to acknowledge they knowingly withheld information from their consultant.

The City's news release:

Most importantly, the City’s commitment to solving David Josiah Lawson’s case has not waivered. [sic]

The City is concerned about how the timing of Tom Parker’s departure from the case coincides with the filing of a claim by Attorney Shelley Mack and their multiple interviews with the media. Furthermore, the City is troubled that certain statements made by Mr. Parker publically [sic] could endanger the investigation. The City appreciates the assistance received from Tom Parker.

Further the City agrees with Tom Parker that this case should and can be solved, which is why it remains our highest priority. There is an active and committed investigative team in place between the Arcata Police Department and the investigators with the District Attorney’s Office. Keeping this team in place provides the continuity and institutional case knowledge required to bring the case to completion. In November, Mr. Parker completed a review of the investigation.

The Council met with Mr. Parker in December who painted a picture of the investigation that is very contrary to his recent media commentary. Over the last several months the City became concerned about potential disclosure of confidential case information. Breaches of his non-disclosure agreement would be damaging to a fragile investigation and as a result the City took steps to protect the integrity of the case. This included withholding certain case strategy and information.

The City received a claim on Friday filed by local attorney Shelley Mack. Such aclaim is not uncommon to be filed in these types of cases to preserve the family’s legal options. This claim in addition to the previous claim from Kyle Zoellner further restricts the City from releasing information about the investigation or steps the City is taking to bring resolution.

The City understands that with the flurry of media comments and unproven allegations being made there are lots of questions. Many of these questions will be answered in due time, through case proceedings.The events of this last week have not deterred the investigative team from their ultimate purpose, which is to deliver a prosecutable case on behalf of David Josiah Lawson.

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