Activists call for justice after BLM protester Tianna Arata charged with five felonies
If convicted, the young justice fighter could possibly receive a prison sentence that is 3/4 of her actual age
A 20-year-old California Black Lives Matter organizer was arrested on July 21 after organizing a protest against police brutality.
Now, Tianna Arata is facing 15 years in prison as a result of her being a principal organizer and “alleged” participation in a riot.
According to reports, the protest started at Mitchell Park and upon advancing, spilled over onto the highway shutting down traffic for over an hour. Someone in the crowd of 300 threw a rock at a passing car, shattering the rear window and causing pieces of glass shards to fall on a four-year-old child in the backseat.
The once peaceful protest had become violent, according to the police, and was now being considered a “riot.”
Police specifically asked District Attorney Dan Dow to file eight charges against Arata, including four felony counts of false imprisonment, one count of felony conspiracy, and three misdemeanors.
The District Attorney decided to arrest and charge Arata, as an organizer of the event, with the following: Participation in a Riot (PC 404), Unlawful Assembly (PC 407), Conspiracy (PC 182a), Unlawful Imprisonment (PC 236) and Resisting Arrest (PC 148) after the protest concluded.
At the same time of Arata’s arrest, the San Luis Obispo Police Department notes that one of their own was assaulted by one of the protesters, believed to be affiliated with Arata. This individual was subsequently arrested for PC 405a and PC 69.
A tentative arraignment date has been set for September.
In a statement on their Facebook page, San Luis Obispo Police expressed their intention to work with the protesters to support their peaceful action.
SLOPD alleges that they called prior to the protest and “began reaching out to group organizers to ensure the safety of the protesters and community.”
The statement continues, “This type of communication has led to many safe protests and rallies that have recently taken place in the City.”
“Police Chief Deanna Cantrell contacted protest organizer, Tianna Arata, prior to the event and was ensured the event at Mitchell Park would be peaceful,” the statement continues.
According to reports, more than 15 police cars showed up to conduct the arrest and six officers took the activist into custody. She was also charged with resisting arrest—among her four other misdemeanors.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune editorial page has called for the DA to drop the case. Saying that “if police wanted to teach a lesson to civil rights protesters” that “they should consider it mission accomplished.” The editorial board goes on to say that they have “made a sufficient example” of Arata.
The editorial board says that the police department is dragging the city into a “lengthy, high-profile criminal case that only will serve to escalate unrest.”
“It’s going too far. It already went too far,” they wrote.
A petition calling for the charges to be dropped has nearly reached its 200,000 goal.
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