Tianna Arata, a Black Lives Matter activist, was arrested on July 21st for her part in a protest that led to the injury of a 4-year old child. The protest, which boasted attendance of more than 300 people, turned violent when activists blocked the roadway and began attacking a random vehicle.
The vehicle’s windows were shattered, showering glass onto the 4-year old boy in the back seat of the car.
Black Lives Matter Has a History of Violence
Arata, who is originally from Portland, Oregon, moved to San Luis Obispo in 2016. She has stated that she had been attending Black Lives Matter protests around the area since early May, and had started protesting various causes in Portland at just 14 years old.
Arata organized the July 21st demonstration to protest against the police ‘targeting people of color unjustly’. This statement, often heard at Black Lives Matter rallies and in the mainstream media, is not supported by the facts. In 2019, 998 people were killed by police officers, 403 of which were white, while only 250 were black.
Things Quickly Turn Ugly
The protest, which began at 4 p.m. in Mitchell Park, started with speeches by organizers, and led to a march into downtown San Luis Obispo. The march stopped briefly at the intersection of Higuera Street and Chorro Street, as onlookers watched Arata and two others stomping on a partially burnt American flag.
At around 7 p.m., the protest turned into a riot, as the activists blocked Highway 101, closing all four lanes for over an hour. The activists reportedly shouted profanities at motorists attempting to use the roadway, and some even physically attacked the vehicles. District Attorney Dan Dow tweeted about the roadblock, stating: “This is unlawful and incredibly dangerous. It must stop.”
Violence Surrounds Black Lives Matter Movement at Every Turn
The video of the incident, provided by the San Luis Obispo Police Department, shows multiple protesters surrounding the vehicle and beating on it. The vehicle slowly drives through the protest, with one activist clinging onto the hood for a few seconds. The driver then speeds off, narrowly missing the other activists still attacking the car.
After the protesters left the roadway, many headed back to Mitchell Park, ultimately dispersing around 8 p.m. Police officers caught up with protest organizers as they were packing up their belongings and attempting to leave the area.
Officers arrested Arata upon recognizing her as the organizer of the protest, stating in a press release that the arrest was “based on Arata’s actions and the actions of the organized group.”
The District Attorney charged Arata with five felonies: unlawful assembly, participation in a riot, conspiracy, unlawful imprisonment, and resisting arrest. Although Arata was not actively resisting arrest, she was ‘passively resisting’, a term that police officers use to describe a “nonviolent physical act or failure to act that is intended to impede, hinder or delay the effecting of an arrest.” In this case, Arata was refusing to walk alongside police officers to their car.
Arata is scheduled to appear in the San Luis Obispo County Court on September 3rd. She faces multiple years behind bars if convicted.