SLO County District Attorney rejects Tianna Arata petitions

September 1, 2020

Supporters of protest leader Tianna Arata attempted to deliver boxes of petitions to San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow on Tuesday, but the DA’s office rejected them.

Arata supporters arrived outside the Palm Street entrance to the San Luis Obispo courthouse, claiming to have more than 500,000 signed petitions calling for Dow not to file charges against Arata. The petitions appear to be printouts of a petition that has garnered more than 544,000 signatures, as of Tuesday evening.

The DA’s office refused to accept the boxes of petitions and instead issued a statement saying it would not bow to political pressure.

“Our office is not accepting the petitions, as they have no bearing on the law or circumstances resulting in Ms. Arata’s arrest, the DA’s office said in a statement. “While mindful of the complexity and sensitivity of the broader social justice conversation, we would be in violation of our ethical duty if we were to make a filing decision based on public sentiment.

“The District Attorney’s Office remains committed to the fair, objective and fact-based review of the evidence in determining if criminal charges should be brought, and if so what charges. In short, we will follow the law without regard for political pressure or political sentiment.”

Dow has yet to announce whether or not his office will file charges against Arata. The protest leader is scheduled for an arraignment hearing Thursday morning.

Tianna Arata, in the center, stomping on a burnt flag

Arata is asking her supporters to protest during her hearing, according to her social media posts.

In addition to attempting to deliver petitions to Dow, Black Lives Matter activists also held a protest outside the courthouse on Tuesday.

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I’m a progressive and am usually critical of Dow, especially re his support of churches to congregate wherever they want during the pandemic. In this case, public petitions should never drive what any district attorney does. If Dow files, Tianna will be able to defend herself in court. I expect her to be successful – to some extent. That is our system.

The real champions of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s–Martin Luther King and John Lewis–practiced peaceful civil disobedience and understood the consequences of their actions. Both were arrested and jailed many times, but they accepted those arrests as an object of pride that strengthened and grew their movement. Both would be appalled at what is happening with violence in our big cities in the name of Black Lives Matter. Instead of resisting the charges against her, Arata might do better to accept her fate like MLK.

Law and order. Nothing more, nothing less.

Can Dow can get a conviction on the charges? That is the question.

Meanwhile, Tianna become a heroine for the cause. Did you see the front page of the New Times?

Support and pray for local police officers and for nonviolence.

The more reason for Dan Dow to do his thing. Let a jury of her peers make the that judgement.

Crowd-sourcing your defense is pretty weak. In the end, you live or die by your actions.

Thank you Dan Dow for doing your job and holding people accountable when they break the law. You can’t petition your way out of atonement for criminal behavior.

The DA will probably plead her down to jaywalking and give her a few hours of community service.

I support the BLM movement. I also support Dan Dow enforcing the laws of the land. If laws were broken, then he has a duty to prosecute no matter what pressure he receives.

Book-em Dano!