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Worker who shared viral video says he tried to be polite

Construction worker who shared viral video that led to rally shares his story

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Painter Luis Cervantes said he tried to be nice before he decided to take video of a confrontation with a woman at an apartment where he was working on Saturday.

The construction worker and painter said when he temporarily parked in a nearby alley and put on his hazard lights to make way for a trash truck, she approached to criticize his driving.

"I said you know what, good morning have a wonderful day, and I closed my window and went to my work," Cervantes recalled.

He did not video the initial conversation by his work truck.

He said she came over and asked for the manager who was not there.

He told her she could come back later to talk to him.

That is when he heard her say she was going to report him.

"She said because you are a bad driver, I am going to report you to the police, the DMV and she said she was going to call ICE," Cervantes said.

He added he told her to do whatever she wants.

Then he heard her say he wasn't following the law in the country and that he was from Tijuana.

He responded by saying he knows the laws and has his license.

He said she claimed he got his license at Kmart.

Again, he said he told her to have a wonderful day.

He later spotted her inside a portion of a nearly finished apartment.

What happened next was captured on video that was shared on TikTok.

Cervantes recorded their conversation that follows:

Cervantes: "Excuse me miss you are on private property."

Woman: "Excuse me."

Cervantes: "You are on private property."

Woman: "I work for the police."

Cevantes: "Okay, that is fine, you are on private property."

Woman: " I am trying to find out if this is private property."

Cervantes; "Yes, you are on private property."

Woman; "You are working here, you are not based out of here, is that correct? Because I was going to say- "

Cervantes: "You are on private property."

Woman: "I have reported you already."

Cervantes: "Sounds good, thank you,"

Woman "I have a right to find out who my neighbors are because I live here, you don't."

Cervntes "Okay, but you don't have permission to come into private property."

Woman: "Oh, arrest me."

Cervantes: "Okay"

Woman: "I live here I am American you are a Tijuanan."

Cervantes: "Thank you, you are a racist, thank you."

Woman: "I am very, very much against people who break our laws."

It appears she punched the phone and the recording stops.

The video went viral on the social media site and by Sunday night, people of all ages gathered on Garden Street near the woman's home.

People chanted her name, some set off fireworks and others spun tires on the roadway pavement. Later the group marched to the police station downtown.

Activist Edin Alex Enamorado, who lives in the Los Angeles area, spoke to the crowd about what happened and then pivoted to Santa Barbara city's efforts to crack down on street vendors operating without permits.

Enamorado mentioned the first name of a city council member he wanted out of office and had the crowd began saying his name.

That council member was Oscar Gutierrez who later came to speak to the crowd before the rally dispersed before 11 p.m.

In an interview Monday, Enamorado said "a majority of the attacks on street vendors are racist attacks and a majority of attacks on construction workers are racist as well. So this was a demonstration against racism."

In the video, the woman claimed she worked for police, but the department released a statement saying she had no affiliation.

Officers monitored the situation on Sunday night from afar and said, "the department supports the right of all individuals to peacefully assemble in order to voice their concerns."

Another person recorded the woman on video, where she apologized.

Cervantes said he heard about the apology and said although he accepts it, he doesn't believe it is sincere.

He said he doesn't think she will change her attitude.

He said his young son and daughter saw the video and are upset about the way their father was treated.

Cervantes said he told them it was still important to be respectful to everyone.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
Santa Barbara
TikTok Viral

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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