Black Lives Matter leader Tianna Arata was arrested last month by the San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) after a protest she organized turned violent…she may face 15 years in prison.
The 20-year-old California-based activist organized a “demonstration” involving more than 300 people (amid a global pandemic) who blocked a highway and attacked a vehicle with a 4-year-old child inside. According to police, Tianna Arata assured the SLOPD ahead of the rally that it would be a peaceful protest.
Video footage of Arata’s arrest was posted online and #FreeTianna quickly went viral.
— Sarah Baska (@SarahBaska) August 10, 2020
The San Luis Obispo DA this week booked Arata on eight charges — four felony counts of false imprisonment and one felony count of conspiracy, as well as resisting or obstructing a peace officer, inciting a riot and unlawful assembly, which are all misdemeanors — and released without bail.
Activist Tianna Arata was arrested on July 21 by the San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) in California after police said a protest she organized turned violent.
In a statement released following Arata’s arrest, the department said SLOPD Police Chief Deanna Cantrell had spoken with Arata ahead of the rally and had been assured that the protest would be peaceful.
However, SLOPD said the protest, which grew to a demonstration involving approximately 300 people, got out of hand when demonstrators marched onto a highway and, at one point, launched an assault on a passenger vehicle, despite a 4-year-old child being inside.
It is unclear what led up to the incident, but SLOPD said protesters damaged the hood of the vehicle and smashed the rear window, causing glass to shatter on the 4-year-old, who was sitting in the back seat.
According to police, protesters also targeted at least two other vehicles upon exiting the highway, with some demonstrators seen chasing down and throwing objects at one car.
The protest, police said, “resulted in significant public safety risks for protesters and community members.”
Arata’s alleged best friend called the arrest a ‘kidnapping.’ “THEY KIDNAPPED MY BEST FRIEND OFF OF THE STREET. NO RIGHTS WERE READ. SPREAD #freetianna,” she tweeted:
— melissa elizalde (@melissayumm) August 10, 2020
“I just turned 20 last month, there’s so much that I want to accomplish,” Arata told The Tribune. “And I’ve been through so much struggle in my life that dealing with this, it’s just, like, I want to be able to overcome it and to go on to the new steps of my life.”
Meanwhile, the state of California denies the claim that Tianna Arata faces 15 years in prison:
— New York Post (@nypost) August 12, 2020
According to the New York Post, “Officials in California slammed a ‘misinformation’ campaign that claims that a ‘peaceful’ Black Lives Matter leader who was arrested last month is facing 15 years in prison, calling her the ‘aggressor’ of a protest that turned violent.”
“Social media exploded with claims that Arata faces up to 15 years in state prison — but San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said that’s not the case, noting that prosecutors are still weighing whether to file criminal charges,” the article continued.
“The review will involve examination of all of the evidence that includes many social media posts, video evidence, witness statements, and other evidence,” he said in a statement Monday. “It is likely that additional investigation will be necessary before making a criminal filing decision.”
He urged the public to be patient while the probe plays out, noting that “public pressure for a particular outcome will not be considered in making a charging decision.”