On June 2, 2020 at 5:00PM, numerous people began to gather in the parking lot, in the 700 block of Sebastopol Rd. The gathering was a vigil for Andy Lopez and to protest police brutality. By 6:20PM, the group grew to approximately 700 people. By 6:30PM, some people left the event, but several hundred people began marching westbound Sebastopol Rd, in the roadway. The group then took over the intersection at Sebastopol Rd and Stony Point Rd. After nearly 15 minutes, the group, now approximately 300 people, began walking eastbound Sebastopol Rd, making their way toward Old Courthouse Square (OCHS).
When the group arrived at the intersection of Third Street and Wilson Street, they took over the intersection and chanted at officers. One subject threw bottles at officers, who were blocking the Highway 101 on-ramp. Several vehicles in the area were driving recklessly and attempting to set up sideshows. Numerous traffic stops were conducted to stop the unsafe behavior. Several people were arrested and their vehicles were towed from the scene.
At approximately 7:00pm, SRPD sent out a reminder about the curfew, on all social media channels. At 8:09PM, the group began to march to OCHS. At the intersection of B St and Third Street, several people and a pick-up truck knocked over and damaged a cement barrier. The vehicle was unable to get passed the safety barriers.
After gathering up at OCHS, the group marched to 1st Street, between Santa Rosa Av and B St. They blocked all lanes of traffic and intentionally prevented emergency vehicles from getting through the area. Several people threw bottles at patrol vehicles and citizen vehicles. At approximately 8:38PM, the group began walking back to OCHS and north on Mendocino Av. At the same time, SRPD officer initiated a vehicle pursuit of a truck associated with the march. The vehicle drove at a high rate of speed, into on-coming traffic, and had two people in the truck bed. Based on these factors, the pursuit was terminated for public safety concerns.
At 9:13PM, SRPD officers gave the order to disperse, but most people did not disperse and leave the area. The unlawful assembly began to walk throughout the Junior College and McDonald neighborhoods. They fired-off fireworks in residential neighborhoods and residents reports that people were throwing rocks at their vehicles, which were parked on the road and in driveways. At the same time, a small group of people returned to downtown and were reported to have been breaking windows and looting local businesses. SRPD officers quickly responded and arrested several people.
At 9:21PM, SRPD officers saw a subject holding a shotgun near the intersection of Mendocino Av and Benton St, near the front of the march. Officer immediately engaged the suspect and safely took him into custody. After inspecting the gun, it was determined that the shotgun was functional, but unloaded. The suspect’s intention was see what the police would do to a “white” male holding a gun. The suspect, Jordan Choat, a 30-year-old male from Santa Rosa, was arrested for violation of the curfew and 23650(a)(1) PC (open carrying a firearm). He was later booked into the Sonoma County Jail.
The larger group continued to walk through the SRJC neighborhood, and SRPD officers gave several more dispersal orders. At 10:35PM, the group took over the intersection at Mendocino Av and Pacific Av by stopping cars and sitting in the roadway. At this point, SRPD officers and numerous officers from allied agencies took the remaining people into custody. After the curfew went into effect tonight, SRPD arrested more than 75 people and towed more than 20 vehicles. Booking process will not be completed for several more hours, so details statistics on arrests, charges, and tows will not be available until Wednesday (6/3/2020) afternoon. Additionally, damage to vehicles in the SRJC and McDonald neighborhoods is unclear, but we expect to have reports filed Wednesday morning and afternoon.
While conducting the dispersal, SRPD officer did not have to use chemical agents (gas) or less lethal munitions on groups. Almost all arrestees were compliant, once officers contacted them.
The Santa Rosa Police Department is committed to protecting our community, our citizen’s right to assemble & protest, and our officers in the field. It is our hope that any future protests will be peaceful, allowing all citizens the opportunity to have their voices heard, in a safe space.
We encourage anyone who witnessed criminal activity to immediately call and report the activity to the police department at (707) 528-5222. For media inquiries, please contact Lieutenant Jeneane Kucker at (707) 543-3573 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photograph #1: Barrier that was vandalized and pushed over at B Street and 3rd Street
Photograph #2: Mendocino Av and Pacific Av. After numerous orders to disperse, the group blocked the intersection by parking vehicles and sitting on the street (later were moved to the sidewalks). Numerous arrests and tows were conducted at this location.