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SLO BLM protest organizer Tianna Arata makes first court appearance

Arata Court
Tianna Arata appears with her attorney Patrick Fisher in his law office during her scheduled arraignment Thursday. (Courtesy of SLO County Superior Court)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Tianna Arata appeared in San Luis Obispo Superior Court through a Zoom conference call Thursday morning.

The 20-year-old is facing 13 misdemeanor charges stemming from a protest she organized on July 21 that marched onto Highway 101.

Appearing with her San Luis Obispo-based attorney Patrick Fisher, Arata did not enter a plea.

Instead, Fisher requested additional time to file later motions with the court.

"Your attorney has indicated that you wish to waive time to continue your arraignment in order for him to file some motions. Is that what you wish to do?" asked Judge Matthew Guerrero to Arata.

"Yes, that's what I wish to do," replied Arata, in her only comments during the brief court appearance.

Guerrero granted the request and set a new arraignment date for Thursday, Sept. 17 at 8:30 a.m.

On Wednesday, San Luis Obispo District Attorney Dan Dow officially charged Arata with the 13 misdemeanor counts, including: one count of unlawful assembly, one count of disturbing the peace, six counts of obstruction of a thoroughfare, and five counts of false imprisonment.

The District Attorney's office did not comment on Thursday's court proceeding.

Minutes before Arata's video appearance, Elias Bautista entered a plea of not guilty to three charges he is facing resulting from his participation in the same protest.

Bautista has been charged with one felony count of resisting an executive officer by force or violence and two misdemeanor counts of resisting, obstructing, or delaying a peace officer for his acts committed against three individual peace officers.

Bautista was in court for his arraignment.

Before entering his plea of not guilty, Bautista flashed a peace sign towards the media, who were positioned on the other side of the courtroom.

Guerrero set a date for a pre-preliminary hearing for Monday, Sept. 14.

According to the District Attorney's office, an investigation into the July 21 protest is still ongoing and may result in additional charges against other individuals.

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.

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