Dumanis Cancels Talk At San Diego City College Amid Protest Threat
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Aired 9/21/11 on KPBS News.
Students are upset that Dumanis hasn’t answered questions about student Diana Gonzalez, who was murdered days after the DA declined to prosecute her estranged husband.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis canceled a talk at San Diego City College after students threatened to protest over the controversial Diana Gonzalez case, according to campus officials.
A city college professor had invited Dumanis to speak at the campus today to mark Constitution Week. Some students thought the invitation was inappropriate because the DA has not yet answered key questions about the Gonzalez case. Notably, why Dumanis decided against prosecuting Gonzalez’s husband after he allegedly kidnapped, raped and choked her.
“And so they made it very clear that if she did come to speak, she would be protested and in addition we would be forcing her to answer questions about the students had and the family had and the family is very upset at the notion of Bonnie Dumanis coming to campus when it’s not very often that they get to have a meeting with her themselves," said Larissa Dorman, a professor at San Diego City College.
Dumanis said she remains in regular contact with the family. She declined to say why she canceled the talk, but she said the Gonzalez murder investigation remains open and she therefore cannot talk about the case.
Dorman thinks she knows why Dumanis canceled the talk.
“We think part of the reason that she canceled her appearance is because she wants to be mayor and she doesn’t want to be tied to the Diana Gonzalez case, and we’re very clear that we would be inviting media to come and be present during the questioning and so I think she was very concerned about that," Dorman said.
Meanwhile, State Senator Christine Kehoe held a press conference today to discuss the so-called Diana Gonzalez Strangulation Act of 2011. Kehoe said the law would require jurors be told that strangulation victims in domestic violence cases are seven times more likely to be killed by their spouses.
Former San Diego Deputy City Attorney Chris Morris, who prosecuted domestic violence cases, said jurors understand that connection.
“Apparently, it would have been the DA’s office who needed the instruction back when they reviewed the Diana Gonzalez case in the first place," Morris said. "It seems like the only ones that didn’t understand the seriousness of strangulation is the DA’s office.”
Gonzalez’s husband remains a fugitive. Police believe he is in Mexico.