Court rules in favor of protesters in 2020 BLM case challenging SLO DA office

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By David M. Greenwald
Chief Editor

An appeals court ruled this week in favor of the respondents, Tianna Arata, et al, college protesters who face criminal charges for marching through the city of San Luis Obispo following the killing of George Floyd, Jr., in 2020. The court in Time made the unusual decision to grant a motion to recuse District Attorney Dan Dow’s office from the case due to Dow’s well-publicized association with critics of the Black Lives Movement. Matter.

As the trial court stated:[N]o the defendant has the right to a prosecutor to whom he is politically, socially or ideologically aligned.

“The men and woman charged here”, however, “are entitled to a prosecution unobstructed by political or personal advantage to the prosecutor.”

The appeals court ruled this week that “substantial evidence supported the trial court’s decision that Dow and its office were unlikely to treat respondents fairly.” The court then upheld the order granting the motion for recusal.

The protests in San Luis Obispo were one of many taking place across the country. The protest was organized by local students following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department.

In San Luis Obispo, “images of walkers circling cars on the 101 freeway have appeared in national media. Serious injuries were narrowly avoided on at least two occasions when motorists attempted to drive around them. »

Prosecutors describe Tianna Arata as the ‘de facto leader of the walkers’ and she faced 13 misdemeanors counts of false imprisonment, obstruction of a traffic lane, unlawful assembly and disturbance of public order.

Arata decided to disqualify the entire district attorney’s office from pursuing his case. The other respondents joined the motion.

The motion described DA Dow as “aligned with right-wing conservative political organizations and fundamentalist religious groups that seek to defame Black Lives Matter [BLM] movement.”

Further, they “argued that Dow’s antipathy toward BLM-inspired protests biased his office’s investigation and motivated him to press charges against Arata and his co-defendants.”

The lower court granted the petition and ordered the attorney general to represent the people in the future.

The trial court described four key pieces of evidence.

First, “August 11, 2020 – Mr. Dow appeared on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins. Mr. Perkins of the Family Research Council described the Black Lives Matter movement as a “Marxist” group that promotes “cop killings, prostitution, anti-Semitism, anarchy and the suppression of speech and religion”.

Second, “September 4, 2020 – Mr. Dow explained his charging decision in the ‘Protect Paso’ Facebook group. The attached documents showed animosity towards the Black Lives Matter group – their constitutional right. These claim that the BLM movement is ‘domestic terrorism’; ‘evil, no brains and no soul’, and posted photos of a BLM billboard burning in flames. Members of the group discussed their skills as hunters and claim that they will use these skills to protect Dan Dow and “protect our people”.

Third, “September 4, 2020 – Mr. and Mrs. Dow emailed a campaign funding request on his birthday. The email solicited campaign funding and said, “Dan needs to know more than ever that you support him, and he really needs your financial support so he can continue to lead the fight in SLO County against the outlandish unblocking of the police movement and anarchist groups that attempt to undermine the rule of law and public safety in our community.

9 Fundraising continues: “You can send Dan a happy birthday message in the comments section when you make a generous financial contribution TODAY to his re-election campaign.” “Your support will help ensure that Dan will continue despite the ‘fund policing’ and George Soros type of opposition that is happening against DAs across the state and nation.” The exhibit shows this was “paid for by Dan Dow for 2022 District Attorney FPPC ID #1361413”.

Fourth, “On October 11, 2020, Mr. Dow appeared alongside Candace Owens and spoke at a fundraiser for ‘New California,’ a breakaway organization. At the event, Ms. Owens called the BLM of “one of the most racist movements that has ever existed in this country”.When asked, Mr. Dow wrote a letter to the Tribune informing him that “Candace Owens is a brilliant and intelligent, fearless woman and a role model for young women everywhere”. Mr Dow was quoted as saying that “she is telling the truth”.

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