San Francisco Police Department officers flew to New Haven this weekend to hold interviews with the more seriously injured members of the Baker’s Dozen a cappella group, which was attacked at a New Year’s Eve party during its west coast singing tour.
The SFPD’s trip follows a request from the San Francisco District Attorney for a more detailed investigation into the case before a decision regarding possible arrests is made. Officers held private meetings Sunday morning with Sharyar Aziz ’10, Zach Bucknoff ’08 and two other members of the group, marking the first time authorities could speak with Aziz, who was initially unable to communicate verbally because his broken jaw was wired shut as a result of the attack.
The students who were interviewed expressed largely positive feelings about the meetings and said they hope their comments will contribute to a speedy resolution to the case, which is entering its fourth week.
The interviews lasted for three hours on Sunday and proceeded smoothly, Aziz said.
“They just got me to tell them what happened, and they gave me some photos to look at,” he said.
The students declined to comment on any details of the police interviews.
Aziz said he is unsure what effect the interviews will have on future charges against the suspected assailants, but he hopes the police and District Attorney’s office will use his statements well.
“I have no real control over the matter, and there’s no point in dwelling over something that I can’t control,” he said.
The attack on the a cappella group, which has gained national attention, began when two uninvited guests entered a private party in San Francisco given in honor of the Yale singers. As members of the Baker’s Dozen left the party to avoid further conflict, witnesses said, they were approached by more assailants — presumably in collusion with the two initial antagonists — who threw beer bottles at the students and proceeded to assault them. The San Francisco Police Department has been criticized for not making any arrests at the crime scene and for pursuing the investigation at what some have regarded as a remarkably slow place.
Injuries sustained by the a cappella group included a broken jaw, a concussion, a sprained ankle, black eyes and other bruises.
The SFPD recommended that District Attorney Kamala Harris file charges against six people, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday, but prosecutors asked the police to supply more information first.
Whitney Leigh, one of Aziz’s attorneys who was present at the interviews Sunday, declined to comment on the reported arrests or the information communicated in the interviews. He said only that the interviews were “very productive” and that an official statement will be released Monday.
Aziz’s father Sharyar Aziz ’74, a prominent New York City investment banker, has spoken out against the SFPD’s sluggish progress on the case. But he said he has no qualms about this particular delay in charging the suspects because he regards it as an effort to bring the investigation to an end.
“I’m hopeful that the D.A. will take the case forward,” he said. “In the meantime, we’re all anxiously awaiting further developments.”
Bucknoff, the Baker’s Dozen business manager, said the group has left the outcome of the investigation to law enforcement and is now seeking to return to life as normal.
Several Yale a cappella groups have contacted the Baker’s Dozen to offer their support, Bucknoff said, and he has been in regular contact with Yale College Dean Peter Salovey since returning to Yale.
Bucknoff said the Baker’s Dozen is planning to perform for Connecticut middle schools in the upcoming weeks and will hold its annual “Spring Jam” concert in April as usual.