James Matthew Davis, 43, denied causing more than a thousand dollars damage to a park ranger’s truck when he kicked it three months ago, on March 5.
Davis is accused of becoming enraged after park ranger Michael Mendoza told him he was going to confiscate abandoned property found at Grape Day Park in Escondido.
Mendoza said he is employed as a park ranger for the city of Escondido and was doing his duties that Monday afternoon. He said park rules and regulations are enforced so everyone can enjoy the public parks, that he is considered a peace officer but does not carry a firearm, and he does carry mace.
It was about 2 p.m. that afternoon when Mendoza said he found “excessive storage” of “unattended property.” He asked people around the park, “Does this property belong to you?” When he first contacted Davis his response was polite, “He was very cooperative.” But when the officer eventually said he was going to confiscate certain property, Davis began to tell him, “You can’t do that, this is public property!” and “This is America, you have no right!”
“I only confiscate property as a last resort,” officer Mendoza said in his testimony during a preliminary hearing on July 16.
Park-goer Davis allegedly became louder and used vulgar language, which caused the park ranger to point out there were families and children in the park.
The ranger said Davis became more aggravated and frustrated and then “ran full blast” toward him, then “He turned and ran full blast at the truck, jumped in the air, and kicked it.”
A new truck used by the parks department and owned by the city of Escondido, a 2018 Chevy Colorado, was parked nearby. This truck allegedly suffered a dent on the rear side panel, passenger side, near the back lights.
Escondido police officer Lee Stewart reported that $1,270.61 was paid to Del Real’s Auto Body Paint to make repairs to the City Parks truck.
At the end of a thirty-minute hearing, James Matthew Davis was ordered to face one felony vandalism charge and one misdemeanor charge of obstruct officer. He pleads not-guilty to all charges, is held in lieu of $20,000 bail, and is next due in court on August 9 to set a date for trial.