Video shows altercation between driver and protesters in SLO

February 17, 2021

 

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

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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nospamthankyoumam

I say 10 ‘You’re-Going-To-Jail’ points for the guy that smashed the windscreen on the little kid. 8 YGTJ points for the driver, who could have decided to muscle his way off the on-ramp instead of driving through the protestors. 6 YGTJ points for the guy who threw himself onto the hood and about 5 YGTJ points for all the other protestors. And the kid in the backseat should get a year pass to Disneyland and free pancake breakfasts for life at Louisa’s Place paid for by all these morons.


nospamthankyoumam

YGTJ points are on a 10 point scale: so skateboard protestor, you get a full score.


shelworth

I don’t understand why the defense attorney would show video damning his client, this was clearly the fault of the crowd illegally trespassing on the Hwy. As soon as my back window was smashed I would have hit the gas! I also can’t tell how they can see the “violent, racist, white male” driving. They must have better eyes than me.


Buchon

Just more of that good old VIDEO EVIDENCE that’s going to send Arrata and Crew to JAIL…


This Barrientos guy clearly isn’t too sharp. But he’s clearly a racist…


username1

I 100% support this drivers actions, he attempts to AVOID hitting anyone by veering towards the empty shoulder. I cannot say I would show as much restraint if being threatened with my child in the back of the car.


Downtown Bob

Wow. This clearly shows an aggressive crowd coming around a person, essentially kidnapping them when the motorist was going about their day, and were menacing harm to the occupants. Protestors do not have the right to require you to join their protest. Why didn’t the “protestors” just allow the vehicle to pass? What gives them the right to stop anyone in a public right of way? I hope this can lead to further prosecutions of these BLM racist scum bags. All lives matter, including black lives , and racism has no place anywhere.


Gramelin

What is the precedence of liability when someone is injured while committing a crime? I don’t see that the driver did any wrong doing. This guy not only refused to move, he jumped on a moving car? Obviously the driver was in danger. I would do what I had to do to protect myself and get out of there too! The only crime here is committed by the protesters.The harassment, detaining the drivers….etc..What a scary situation for anyone out there driving.


ctakier

So dude got in front of the car, saw it coming, BRACED HIMSELF FOR THE CAR TO KEEP GOING and then walked away unscathed after saying who knows what to the people that were around them. It’s pretty obvious that the driver was speaking to the people around them. Perhaps the driver was telling everyone that he was going to go whether they were in the way or not? Impossible to say and incredibly irresponsible for the defense lawyer to throw out the typical argument about racism. That claim seems to be the default claim for anyone that’s not white that’s being accused of a crime these days.. Pretty sickening.


ratherbefishing

If I were the defense attorney, I would not have released this video. Despite Att. Barrientos’ hyperbole, the video does not show wrongdoing by the driver. In fact it weakens the defense’s position by showing demonstrators preventing the vehicle from leaving. It shows unlawful detainment or possibly kidnapping on the freeway and intentional vandalism by Lastra. I’m surprised they weren’t charged with felonies.


Rambunctious

Now shouldn’t the Mayor of SLO be impeached for incitement of a mob?….I mean if we are going to be fair….


Facts Matter

The So-Called Mayor, should be charged under both Federal and State Statutes, from Racketeering , Conspiracy, incite meant of Rioting, giving unlawful concealment and aide to the Enemy and covering up her own Illegal activities.


It is good to know she is under some very serious Criminal Probes, FBI, DEA, IRS, DOJ and a few others, I understand a Grand Jury in LA is getting a panel on her activities and the money trail.