SLO Black Lives Matter protester in line for a plea agreement

December 7, 2021

Tianna Arata standing on a highway barrier

By KAREN VELIE

One of the leaders of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests in San Luis Obispo is expected to plea to one felony count of using threats or violence to deter a police officer. In exchange, 24-year-old Elias Bautista will have his other two charges dropped.

Officers arrested Bautista on July 21, after approximately 300 protesters marched onto Highway 101, blocking all lanes in both directions for nearly an hour.

At the end of the protest, officers arrested BLM organizer Tianna Arata, 21. Prosecutors charged Arata with one count of unlawful assembly, one count of disturbing the peace, six counts of obstruction of a thoroughfare, and five counts of false imprisonment — all misdemeanors.

During Arata’s arrest, Bautista yelled at an officer before kicking him in the crotch.

Prosecutors charged Bautista with one felony count of resisting an executive officer by force or violence and two misdemeanor counts of resisting, obstructing, or delaying a peace officer for his acts allegedly committed against three individual peace officers.

As part of the proposed plea agreement, slated to be discussed at a hearing on Dec. 13, Bautista will be sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years probation. After 18 months, Bautista can petition the court to reduce the felony count to a misdemeanor, which he can later have expunged from his record.

The SLO County District Attorney’s Office also filed two misdemeanor charges against BLM protester Jerad Hill, three misdemeanor charges against Sam Grocott, a felony charge of vandalism and a misdemeanor charge against Robert Lastra, four misdemeanor charges against Marcus Montgomery and one misdemeanor charge each against Joshua Powell and Amman Asfaw.

Judge Matt Guerrero ruled last December that District Attorney Dan Dow had a clear conflict of interest in prosecuting seven of the cases based on the wording of an email he and and his wife sent to supporters seeking donations. The email asked supporters to help Dow lead the fight against the “wacky defund the police movement and anarchist groups that are trying to undermine the rule of law and public safety in our community.”

A month later, the California Attorney General’s Office filed two appeals regarding Guerrero’s finding, one in the felony case against Lastra — the protester who allegedly smashed a car window onto a 4-year-old boy — and one in the misdemeanor filings against Arata, Hill, Grocott, Montgomery, Powell and Asfaw. Currently, the parties are waiting on a ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeal.


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enoughalready

Let’s not forget Jalen Hamler, Cal Poly football quarterback at the time. He was in the thick of it blocking US 101. He got off because he is privileged PERIOD. From LA got figure


kayaknut

Yep he was a big help to the Cal Poly football team, they had one of their worse records this last season, third from the bottom of the Big Sky conference, only one win within the conference.


Jorge Estrada

Much time has passed and they still wreak with the smell of felony.


commonsenseguy

Good. Now he can get a job and try to become a productive member of society.


Zoiebowie

They should be sentenced to hard labor with no pay. Oops.


Side_Show_Bob

Seems to me that fair and equitable punishment should be locked away in a federal holding cell for an unlimited or inexplicable term just like the Jan 6th protesters we never hear about.


MrYan

They ceased being protesters when they entered the Capitol building without permission.


A number became insurrectionists when they picked up weapons and physically fought LEO for over 4 hours in attempt to thwart the official proceedings. Those people are traitors. Throw away the key.


Any fair or equitable assessment of both events would not make an attempt to compare the two as equal offenses.


Jon Tatro

Well by that thinking this guy stopped being a “Protester” when he kicked the cop in the balls so yea a fair and equitable punishment should go towards both. Stop calling criminals protesters.


MrYan

Yes you are correct. The kid was resisting arrest. I don’t condone his actions.


But it wasn’t a traitorous act like the ones in DC looking to hang Mike Pence. Why defend those actions?

Equal degrees of offense they are not. Is it that hard to admit?


Jon Tatro

I couldn’t disagree more, I’m a retired police officer and it’s people like yourself who try to justify criminal activity by the cause they claim. All crimes matter and should be dealt with equally no matter what side you root for. Just for info not a single idiot from Jan 6 was charged with treason.


Florian75

And none were charged with insurrection. Not everyone who entered the Capitol on January 6th did so as a result of forcing entry. Some walked in because doors were open and Capitol Police were standing by as if they were ushers.


derasmus

Sir, you are wrong,


Watch some of the footage, capital police ushered them into the building. They were let into the building, then the mayhem began, windows broken, damage, etc…again, after they were let in. Enough with the “alternative facts”


Just like the Rittenhouse trial, some of you folks on the left, and left wing media. ignore facts and perpetuate false information just because of Trump hatred. Trump is gone, getter over him.


paragon

lol, I though your line was that all the Jan 6th insurrectionists were actually antifa? It didn’t take long for you to flip flop on that one, did it?


kettle

“fair and equitable punishment” Probation it is.


A man planted bombs hours after a Black Lives Matter protest in Pittsburgh. He was sentenced to probation.


“we never hear about” Lol, not paying attention is a self inflicted behavior.