The families of two young men injured in a New Year’s Eve melee at the house of two San Francisco police officers claim there is sufficient evidence to charge the case, and have called on the District Attorney’s Office to issue an arrest warrant.
In a letter dated Feb. 11, Donald and Georgia Gogel described evidence they claim exists against the young men they allege were responsible for the attack, including witness accounts, positive identification of the suspects by the victims and an alleged confession. The Gogels called for District Attorney Kamala Harris to charge four males in the attack.
Evan Gogel, 19, a freshman at Yale and member of the Baker’s Dozen a cappella singing group, suffered a concussion early on Jan. 1 in what victims’ lawyers characterized as an unprovoked beating by uninvited guests outside a New Year’s Eve party where the singers were guests of honor. Sharyar Aziz,another Yale freshman, suffered a broken jaw during the melee.
In the letter, addressed to Chief Assistant District Attorney Russ Giuntini, the Gogels itemize accounts from neighbors and victims that they claim identify the four alleged attackers and indicate that the attack was unprovoked.
Attorney Frank Passaglia, who is representing two of the alleged attackers, refused to comment Wednesday.
Georgia Gogel, Evan Gogel’s mother, said the evidence described in the letter was compiled by the law firm Gonzales and Leigh from "the facts as we know them as we’ve heard them through witnesses. We have not spoken to the witnesses but our attorneys have," she said in an interview Wednesday.
Attorney James Hammer, who along with Whitney Leigh represents Gogel and Aziz, said the Gogels — both of whom are trained as attorneys but are not practicing — had drafted and signed the letter at the request of the District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh said, "They indicated they had information they wanted to share with us, and we said we would welcome that."
In a letter to Harris, dated Feb. 13, Laura and Sharyar Aziz, parents of the younger Sharyar Aziz, state that they were "increasingly frustrated at the inaction of your office." They claim that police investigators have "accumulated sufficient evidence to be able to present their case to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office not once, but multiple times."
The case is still under investigation by police, and has not been officially handed over to the district attorney, who has the power to issue arrest warrants.
In an e-mail Wednesday, Harris stated, "I completely understand and share the frustration of the victims and families. But I would reiterate that a rush to judgment does not serve justice or benefit the victims in this case. I’m optimistic that the San Francisco Police Department will complete the investigation soon. Once they’re done, my office will take action."