Black Lives Matter protester again ordered to face trial or diversion

January 29, 2022

Amman Asfaw

By KAREN VELIE

A Black Lives Matter protester was again ordered to either agree to diversion or face trial for false imprisonment related to detaining a driver during a July 21, 2020 BLM march through the streets of San Luis Obispo, during a hearing on Friday.

Amman Asfaw’s attorney Earl Conaway filed another motion to dismiss, the latest was sought in the “furtherance of justice,” according to the motion. The filing included a letter of recommendation from Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong.

Conaway touted Asfaw’s accomplishments as a first-generation U.S. citizen and the racism he has endured. Conaway argued that a car knocked Asfaw down while he was walking in a crosswalk.

Deputy District Attorney Delaney Henretty called Conaway’s description a gross mischaracterization. Asfaw was not walking across a sidewalk and he was not knocked down — he sat down, Henretty said, noting Asfaw detained his alleged victims to force them to hear his message.

“What if this was a white supremacist rally that detained Asfaw’s family?” Henretty said. “How can you not respect the rights of the pastor and his wife?”

Conaway also argued that the charges were politically and racially motivated.

“We are free to say this is politically motivated because a judge has found it to be politically motivated,” Conaway argued.

In 2020, Judge Matt Guerrero ruled that District Attorney Dan Dow had a clear conflict of interest, and that local prosecutors should be replaced by the California Office of the Attorney General. The state then appealed Guerrero’s ruling. The appellate court has yet to make a decision.

Near the end of Friday’s hearing, SLO County Superior Court Judge Roger Picquet said he looked at all the letters Asfaw provided from the Cal Poly community, the SLO City Council and the community at large. Picquet said he was impressed by Asfaw’s background.

However, Conaway’s motion was not based on a fact finding exercise, Picquet said.

In addition, Picquet said Asfaw could have chosen diversion.

In early 2021, Henretty offered misdemeanor diversion to five of the seven defendants charged following the July 21 protest, which means they could have their charges dismissed if they agree to attend classes or do community service. All five defendants declined the offer.

Picquet said it was inappropriate to grant Conaway’s motion for dismissal. He then set a readiness conference for May 6.


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TiaMiaOhMy

If it’s the case…President Armstrong of CP should STAY OUT OF THIS…so would he have stood up for an Aggie Kid that broke the law, while using intimidation – holding individuals hostage? I think NOT! This guy – shouldn’t have done what he did…no matter the color of skin…and NOW he has to pay the consequences!


Rambunctious

I hope people are paying attention…BLM national has failed to pay legal fees for these misguided youngsters…and now the leadership of BLM is hiding after they spent millions on themselves…what a scam…scream black lives matter and take the donations from scared corporations and run….


Jorge Estrada

I’m curious about how many wars will be started, fought and ended before this local issue is adjudicated.


GreatGuy

We should take into consideration that because so many unarmed black men and women are continually being killed by government employees, that it has a traumatic effect on Black people across the board. The psychic wounds are immense throughout the nation and most white folks have no appreciation for that. We are all connected. When our brothers are abused, we all suffer One way or another. Our community needs to show compassion for the abuse and traumatized. The brutal, horrible killing of George Floyd was a lethal threat to black men and women across the nation. Living a lie for every day you know you could be killed by people who are supposed to protect you as a deep and profound psychic effect on people


805thirdeye

Your logic should apply to females and children of all origins as well, not just black males.


Pete

Well said and poorly received by our local red necks. Any mention of fairness and equality will get you a bunch of negativos. I gave you a positive click and wonder what sort of creepos gave you all the downers. No doubt this comment will attract all the vermin.


Messkit

More unarmed white men and women, per capita, are continually killed by government employees, in America. The psychic wounds are immense, and black folks who refuse to live by Dr. Kings immortal words of equality, have no appreciation for the people that protect them.