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Six more charged in Tianna Arata Black Lives Matter protest

Car vandalized during Black Lives Matter protest in SLO
San Luis Obispo Police Department
Car vandalized during Black Lives Matter protest in SLO in July.

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow announced that charges have been filed against six more people who participated in the Black Lives Matter protest led by Tianna Arata in July.

The protest, which moved onto Highway 101 blocking traffic in both directions and left multiple cars damaged, was held in San Luis Obispo on July 21.

Arata was initially arrested at the protest after officers said the event became a riot. Protestor Elias Bautista was arrested at the same time and faces felony charges for assaulting a police officer who was attempting to arrest Arata.

According to San Luis Obispo police, while on Highway 101, some protesters damaged the hood of a car and shattered a rear window, causing glass to break onto a 4-year-old child sitting in the back seat.

Arata, 20, received 13 misdemeanor charges in September for blocking various streets and the freeway, unlawful assembly, disturbing the peace and false imprisonment for blocking multiple vehicles from driving.

Along with Arata, charges were filed against Marcus Lee Montgomery, Amman Fasil Asfaw and Joshua Powell.

24-year-old Montgomery was charged alongside Arata for false imprisonment of the driver of a black BMW at the Hwy 101 Santa Rosa Street offramp, obstructing the area of California Boulevard, Mill Street and Monterey Street to drivers and pedestrians, and obstructing two peace officers.

Asfaw, 22, faces misdemeanor charges for false imprisonment of the driver and passengers in a white Honda at the intersection of California Boulevard and Monterey Street.

Asfaw also serves as the current president for Cal Poly's National Society of Black Engineers and as a chairperson for San Luis Obispo's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force.

Lastly, Powell, 23, was charged with a misdemeanor for resisting and obstructing two peace officers at the scene.

All of the above defendants, including Arata, are expected to appear in court on Oct. 22.

An additional case was filed on Friday involving three more defendants who were charged for destructive actions, including throwing a skateboard into a BMW at the July 21 protest.

Robert Lastra Jr., 21, faces charges for felony vandalism costing $400 or more and false imprisonment for trapping a driver and passengers in a BMW on Hwy 101 near the Olive Street onramp.

Jerad Hill, 27, was also charged for false imprisonment of the BMW as well as felony vandalism costing $400 or more.

Sam Grocott, 25, was charged for the false imprisonment of multiple drivers on the freeway and one driver at the intersection of California Boulevard and Monterey Street.

Both Grocott and Hill are expected to appear back in court on Nov. 16.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts

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Jessica Brest

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