Probe of singers’ alleged beating expands 

Two San Francisco police inspectors are due to fly to Southern California and show a photographic lineup to members of a Yale singing group allegedly attacked after a private party on New Year’s Eve, according to one victim’s family.

The alleged assault on Yale’s a cappella choral group Baker’s Dozen may have stemmed in part from a rivalry between two San Francisco Catholic high schools with a history of tension, the mother of the party’s hostess said Wednesday. One singer, 18-year-old Sharyar Aziz, had his jaw broken during the attack.

"It was a quote-unquote S.I. party," said Leanna Dawydiak, whose daughter, Rose, a Yale student and St. Ignatius College Preparatory alumnus, co-hosted the party. The uninvited aggressors, Dawydiak said, were either students or recent alumni from Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, a rival of St. Ignatius.

The 18-member singing group — college friends of Rose’s — arrived at the party at about 10:30 p.m. after a gig in Squaw Valley, Aziz’s mother, Laura Aziz, said. During the party, at which the sport coat-clad group led a sing-along of the Star Spangled Banner, some guests began taunting them, hurling epithets like "faggot" and "homo." One guest, whom Dawydiak identified as the son of a prominent pediatrician and a Sacred Heart alum, apparently led the jeering.

The singers decided to leave when it didn’t appear the animosity would let up, traveling in small groups to the house around the corner where they were staying, sources said. But when they reached the corner of 15th Avenue and California Street, a group of young men jumped out of a van and began to attack them, tripping Sharyar Aziz and kicking him, Laura Aziz said.

Since the attack, the Aziz family has retained the San Francisco law firm Gonzalez and Leigh to advise them on police practices and represent the singing group, Laura Aziz said. She saidshe and her husband, an investment banker, had some questions about the way the investigation was handled.

"I’m hearing from a lot of different sources — some very knowledgeable ones — that in a situation where there were so many people who could identify the suspects, there would normally have been an arrest made," Laura Aziz said.

She said police had since requested that the group return to The City to identify the suspects, but the group had refused. Police inspectors would be flying down to Southern California to conduct the lineup today, Laura Aziz said.

"The initial call was of a fight amongst 20 people, so numerous people have been interviewed and there are more people who need to be interviewed," police Sgt. Neville Gittens said Wednesday. He said the issue of whether the students would return to view the lineup or if inspectors would head south was "being worked out as we speak."

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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