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Tianna Arata's defense to file demurrer challenging 'unconstitutional' charges

Posted at 12:17 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 01:30:12-04

A San Luis Obispo Black Lives Matter protest organizer charged with multiple misdemeanors was back before a judge Thursday but did not enter a plea.

It was the second hearing via Zoom for Tianna Arata since the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office filed 13 misdemeanor charges against her in connection with a July 21 protest.

Police say she is responsible for leading a protest march that blocked Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo. Police claim the march also resulted in acts of vandalism at the hands of protesters.

The police department requested that the District Attorney's Office file multiple charges against Arata, including several felonies.

According to the complaint against Arata, she is facing six counts of obstruction of a thoroughfare, five counts of false imprisonment, one count of unlawful assembly, and one count of disturbing the peace by loud noise. All are misdemeanors.

Arata’s defense did not enter a plea Thursday, saying they plan to file a demurrer alleging the charges filed against their client are unconstitutional, do not make sense and most do not add up to a crime.

Attorney Curtis Briggs says they are challenging all charges, calling the criminal complaint invalid.

He says demurrers are rarely granted but adds that the filing is the heart of what their defense will be at trial, calling Arata’s activities “lawful and protected” under the first amendment.

Arata is due back in court Oct. 22.

Tianna Arata addresses crowd following court appearance