BLM protesters detained pregnant woman, and nurses in SLO

July 26, 2020

Black Lives Matter protesters gathering at Mitchell Park on July 21


The video shows a man and a woman pleading with Black Lives Matter protesters who had blocked Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo, to let them take a pregnant woman in labor to a hospital.

“She is going to give birth,” the woman tells protesters. “Get out of the road.”

This and other videos given to CalCoastNews provide a record of what occurred at the July 21 protest.

After congregating at Mitchell Park, approximately 300 protesters walked onto Highway 101 from both Osos Street and California Boulevard, blocking all lanes in both directions for nearly an hour. While on the highway, protesters ran after vehicles attempting to drive off the freeway, blocked vehicles, and yelled at some of the drivers, according to videos of the protest.

While protesters blocked the highway, several local nurses posted on Facebook that protesters were blocking traffic during shift changes at area hospitals. Chadwick Payne, a critical care nurse at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, asked the protesters to screen cars to make sure people “needed at the hospital to take care of super sick people,” could get to work, Payne wrote.

“I’m on my way to work, and they better get off (the highway) because my hospital is short staffed,” nurse Sandra Boc responded to Payne’s Facebook post.

A man in a white truck attempted to get around the protesters by driving on the shoulder of the highway, but his path was blocked. A woman in the passenger seat told protesters that a pregnant woman in the back seat was “going to give birth,” and told them to let the truck through.

Tianna Isis Arata, the organizer of the protest who moved from Portland to San Luis Obispo several years ago, and another protester, quarterback of the Cal Poly football team Jalen Hamler, discussed whether the woman’s water had broken and if she was really in labor, according to the video.

“It’s not worth it, she’s ignorant,” Arata said before marching away chanting, “Black lives matter.”

After the Highway 101 blockade, the protesters marched back into the city. Arata then directed others to stop vehicles, and, wielding an American flag on a pole, she chased several cars. A drone video shows Arata hitting one of the cars with the flag pole.

During the march, several drivers bumped protesters out of the way who were blocking their paths. In one incident, a protester threw a skateboard at the back window of a car that had hit a protester. The window shattered, with the pieces landing on a 4-year-old boy, who was unharmed.

Following the protest, San Luis Obispo police officers arrested Arata, 20, on charges of participation in a riot, unlawful assembly, conspiracy, unlawful imprisonment and resisting arrest. She was released shortly afterwards on her own recognizance.

During Arata’s arrest, 22-year-old Elias Bautista yelled at an officer before kicking him in the crotch, according to videos of Arata’s arrest. Officers booked Bautista in the San Luis Obispo County Jail on charges of attempting to deter an officer from doing his job, and for attempting to take a person from the lawful custody of a peace officer.

SLO Mayor Heidi Harmon, who has repeatedly asked the public to support Arata and Black Lives Matter, joined in the protest, but left to attend a city council meeting before the group entered the highway.

SLO Democratic Socialists of America, a “group of socialists, communists, and anarchists looking to upend capital and build working class power,” raised funds to pay Bautista’s $50,000 bail, according to their Facebook page. The local organization has ties with Harmon, including having her speak at meetings and promoting her reelection.

On social media, protesters are demanding prosecutors charge two motorists with assault with a deadly weapon, and that they drop all charges against Arata and Bautista.

During the four days that followed Arata and Bautista’s arrests, local Black Lives Matter protesters have peacefully marched in downtown SLO, staying on sidewalks, stopping at stop signs and not confronting motorists.

However, protesters tried to stop a CalCoastNews reporter from filming the demonstration, despite being in public. Likewise, protesters followed the reporter as he filmed; demanded he film in locations of their choosing; and ordered other protesters not to speak to him or even acknowledge him.

Following her arrest, Arata took down her Instagram page, and has not attended the past four protests.

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Moved from Portland, that’s all I need to hear, let’s send her packing, they need her there more than ever, of course after she serves her time in jail and pays all her fines.


Protest peacefully without disrupting others rights is fine but these people do not care about others rights or lives as they didn’t care about the pregnant woman’s babies life enough to let them go to the hospital. Also they didn’t care about the reporters right to be there with them to film it. If you had a person blocking freeway and endangering others lives the police would come and get them off freeway and arrest them but these fools do it and then complain they were assaulted by people just wanting to get out of there way. Arata does not deserve the honor of carrying the flag!!!! God help us if this is the type of people that will be running our country in the future.


Why are other people losing their jobs for speaking their opinions but this bull$@;)! Is ok? How is this right?


I find that the only value in knowing about these fools is to HIGHLIGHT how we need to hold the Mayor, as a public official, accountable for her empowerment of these destructive “teens”. Harmon tried to play both sides, playing the police-informant role, then pretending to run to the “jail”. This is a situation where protecting innocent people from harm is supreme to all other “causes”. It needs to be clear, ANYONE going on the freeway or obstructing innocents–> zip tie, jail, and consequences. The Rainbow Unicorn Queen is no longer amusing. She must go.

fat chance

They are bound and determined to destroy this country. I’m still trying to figure why. When are the good people of this country going to step up and put a stop to all this nonsense. Stopping a pregnant woman from going to hospital is just plain crazy and just plain mean.


Someone has been trying to for the last 4 years but it’s people like this that get in the way.


Some want to force a confrontation. Want the optics. Let’s not fall for these ploys. Local law enforcement is doing a good job. Remaining in control, avoiding escalation.

George Garrigues

Yes, I am interested in knowing more about this person.


I watch this video, and what’s happening in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, etc …and for the first time in my almost seven decades of existence I fear for my country. Cant put my finger on it but this feels different from ‘68.

Looking at the impotent, do-nothing law enforcement really makes me afraid for the physical safety of these wanna be revolutionaries as undoubtedly someone will respond with great force, if this keeps happening.

It’s really a shame how a potentially substantive conversation about police reform and social justice has deteriorated into anarchy, not just here locally but in the entire country.


Society is changing.


And certainly not for the better!


Yes, but not for the better I fear.


I support protests, but not protesters who do not respect Freedom of the Press and who laugh at a man who is worried about his pregnant daughter. Isn’t the young man giggling at the father’s pain, the quarterback of the Cal Poly football team?

How do they expect to wipe out racism through racism and hate?


What I saw was contempt for someone in need to get to a hospital.


Yes, the man conversing with the driver is the quarterback at Cal Poly. Jalen Hamlin. His girlfriend is currently pregnant.

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