Video shows altercation between driver and protesters in SLO

February 17, 2021



The attorney representing a Black Lives Matter activist facing misdemeanor false imprisonment charges has released previously withheld drone footage of a car colliding with a protester on Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo and another demonstrator smashing the back window of the vehicle with a skateboard. 

Vincent Barrientos, a San Francisco-based defense attorney representing activist Sam Grocott, alleges a “violent, racist, white male” tried to run over his client. Barrientos also claims local law enforcement have deliberately withheld facts about the case and have lied to the public, due in part to San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow’s “white power agenda.”

Dow rejects the allegations and argues that Barrientos is breaching his professional code of conduct. 

On July 21, 2020, activist Tianna Arata led approximately 300 protesters onto Highway 101, blocking all lanes in both directions for nearly an hour. During the incident, the driver of a silver BMW sedan attempted to maneuver around the protesters.

Drone footage shows the car driving on the shoulder of the highway and veering slightly onto the median. Grocott steps into the path of the car as the driver is trying to get around demonstrators.

The driver does not stop, collides with Grocott and keeps driving. Grocott appears to lean and fall onto the hood of the car, where he lies for a few seconds prior to getting off and landing on his feet as the driver accelerates away. 

As Grocott was lying on the hood of sedan, Robert Lastra Jr. comes from behind and smashes the back window of the car with a skateboard. Additionally, as Grocott is getting off the vehicle, another protester strikes the passenger side of the car with a skateboard.

Though local law enforcement previously released other drone footage of the events of July 21, police did not release the footage obtained by Barrientos. The defense attorney claims Dow and San Luis Obispo Area CHP Capt. Greg Klingberg have been lying to the public about the altercation that occurred on the highway. 

“By intentionally choosing not to release the video footage, they were able to provide false statements to the press and control and shape the narrative to fit their personal agenda,” Barrientos stated in a news release. 

The defense attorney also sent a letter to Klingberg demanding he arrest the driver for assault with a deadly weapon and contact local media, saying he lied to the public, or else resign. 

In turn, the district attorney’s office released a statement on Tuesday saying it would not respond to Barrientos’s non-fact based rhetoric:

“The District Attorney’s office is confident that the facts and circumstances surrounding Mr. Grocott’s arrest will be fully and fairly revealed in court once the matter is tried to a jury of our community members. The District Attorney will not respond to the non-fact based rhetoric of Mr. Grocott’s counsel. In fact, the California Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit any attorney involved in the litigation of a case from making a statement the attorney reasonably knows will be disseminated to the public and that has a substantial likelihood of prejudicing the case. This includes not only statements by an individual attorney, but the public release of evidence outside of the court process that poses the same threat to due process of law. The rules of professional responsibility are intended to assure the fair application and due process of law for all parties. These rules apply equally to prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys.”

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The video clearly shoes that the unlawful, uncivil, and violent protester’s are responsible for all of it. If they weren’t so blatantly breaking the law with their uncivil and violent protest, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

It started with blocking traffic and threatening the innocent public on the city streets, assaulting and officer, spewing hate speech, and vulgar language, and ended with the violent attacks of a family, along with the threats and intimidation of a woman in labor, and many others. The uncivil and violent insurrection of these unlawful protesters show their bigotry and racism.

As for a lawsuit, I say we as the people of SLO County, should file a lawsuit against Mayor Harmon and the city of SLO for her involvement with starting and taking part of this violent, unlawful, and uncivil acts of aggression by this mob of insurgents that threaten the lives and civil rights of the innocent people. They all need to be held accountable for the irresponsibility and hate.

It’s hypocritical that they accuse law enforcement of lying and presenting a false narrative when the protesters did the same thing.

Recall that after the incident, the protesters claimed “The car in question ran over a protestor on a skateboard, which flew back and hit the back windshield,” (direct quote from the CCN article on July 22, 2020) However, the video shows that this claim was an outright lie. The sole protestor who was hit by the car was not “run over”, nor was he on a skateboard. The skateboard smashed the window of the vehicle because a protester behind the car purposefully chased after the car and violently hurled the skateboard at the back window.

I would not be surprised if there are other videos of this incident out there taken by protesters. It always seemed suspicious that there were so many videos of other parts of the protest but somehow none of this incident, likely because the protesters didn’t want to incriminate themselves.

Good observation, there are other video’s and more surveillance so that will come out in the trial if these low life Lawyers do there job and let Tianna Arata and her attackers get this to a public trial.

The evidence is most over whelming and so allow the trial to began, stop stalling and making B.S. false and misleading statements, let the trial began good thing Judge Guerrero is off the case, let the best of the judges handle the case, Federman, Covello, Harmon and others move this case forward we the locals need to allow justice to be revealed and you will see GUILTY on all counts

Throw in a felony false imprisonment charge. Cops should have routed these cars out of harms way. Surprising there were no deaths or serious injuries.

First of all none of those people had any right to be blocking the freeway so anything they did was illegal. Secondly, it was obvious from the video that the drive was in fear for his life as not only the fellow jumped on the hood of his car but if he had stopped at that point the other lawbreakers were coming at his door and open window. More of this terrorist should have been arrested and charged according to this video.

If I’m on the jury it sure looks to me like Grocott jumped on the hood of the car. In basketball parlance – block or charge? I call blocking!

This looks bad for the CHP and the protesters. First, the man clearly did not jump on the hood as officers said. But the DA is only charging Grocott with holding someone against their will, which he obviously was attempting to do.

The allegation that the driver tried to kill Grocott is a joke. Grocott steps in front of a moving vehicle on the highway in an attempt to restrict the movements of a man with a child. The car appears to be going about 1 mile an hour. And then to claim the man is racist as an excuse is bad. The law is the law regardless of race or views.

And the attorney attempting to win a case in the press, should be disbarred.