The suspect in three sexual assault cases plead not guilty Friday morning to all 26 charges against him.
The defendant,32-year-old Federick Dozier, his hands cuffed behind his back, and glancing quickly at the cluster of 10 friends and family in courtroom, said “Yes,” when Judge Gerardo Sandoval asked if Dozier understood that he was waving his rights to a speedy trial. No bail was set and the proceedings were over in less than 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, residents of Bernal Dwellings, where Frederick Dozier was arrested last week as a suspect in three Mission District sexual assault cases, reacted this week with a mix of outrage that a suspect had been in their midst and unhappiness that their home is being associated with the attacks. Dozier wasn’t one of us, many residents of the low-income housing complex wanted others to know.
“He don’t live here. He’s not part of this community,” said one man who, like others, refused to give his name. He shook his head, upset that people think Dozier lived in Bernal. “He’s just a visitor,” he said, explaining that Dozier actually lives in Bayview and stays with a friend here.
Two people, one of whom formerly worked with Dozier, said the suspect was staying with his girlfriend, who lives in Bernal Dwellings. It was there that police arrested him on Jan. 6 at 4:30 p.m. He was charged Wednesday with 26 felony counts.
Greg Goldman, his defense attorney, told Mission Loc@l Friday morning that it would take months for the defense to analyse and examine all of the evidence against Dozier including DNA samples. A discovery trial to make sure the defense has all of the evidence against Dozier will take place Feb 23.
Around Bernal earlier in the week, residents expressed relief at Dozier’s arrest but left it unclear why they appeared to suspect the man that some knew.
“I’m glad the police got him,” said the local man who used to work with Dozier … “because if they didn’t it would have been something worse. He would have been dead.”
The man, who asked to remain anonymous, has known Dozier for five years. He said Dozier seemed “like a normal person.”
“It’s hard for anybody to speak on anything” around here, he said, referring to this community’s reluctance to speak up about criminal activity in the neighborhood. Still, many didn’t hesitate to make their disapproval of Dozier’s alleged offenses known.
“He’s making us look bad,” said one man loudly as he left the corner grocery store, throwing his hands in the air and echoing the sentiments of another man who said the suspect was just freeloading off a friend who lives in Bernal Dwellings.
Police received dozens of tips from Mission residents, one of which eventually led to Dozier’s arrest. One man who was hanging out on Folsom Street indicated that information may have come from someone associated with Bernal Dwellings.
“I think everybody knew. They just didn’t want to believe it,” the man said, offering no concrete evidence. No one wants to be labeled a snitch, he said.
Many at Bernal and the surrounding neighborhood shook their heads in disbelief — “Oh, Fred?” — when they realized the topic of conversation. The former coworker said nothing struck him about Dozier, with whom he had occasionally had a drink. “He was a very good person, don’t get me wrong — until he got angry.”
Dozier seemed very normal, the man said, adding that he wore a good mask. It’s unclear what precisely led to the arrest, but police said the case was also based on DNA evidence.
“I feel hurt, because he’s been around my daughters and stuff,” the man said. Recalling some of the details of the recent sexual assaults, he added, “…and a 50-year-old woman,” shaking his head and pausing. “That coulda been my mother.”
Of the other assaults, he said, “It could have been my daughter.”
The first sexual assault happened on June 17, 2011; the second on Nov. 18. The incidents became more violent with each act. In the third attack, on Dec. 8 near 24th and Fair Oaks, the assailant allegedly choked the victim until she was unconscious. When the victim woke up to find the attacker sexually assaulting her, he punched her and smashed her face into the sidewalk before fleeing with her bag, according to police.
“I’m thinking everybody’s hurting, especially as much love as we’ve been putting out to him,” said the man. Others hanging out on Folsom Street expressed less love and more disapproval.
“I won’t hold anything back. I’ll be honest. We’re glad the cops got him,” the ex-coworker said, adding that the feeling was widespread.