Tianna Arata’s attorneys seek gag order on CHP, SLOPD

Tianna Arata standing on a highway barrier


After attending rallies supporting protesters’ assertions they did not break the law when they blocked traffic on Highway 101, attorneys representing SLO protest leader Tianna Arata are requesting that a judge impose a gag order on both the California Highway Patrol and the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

Arata’s attorney’s filed a complaint on Monday seeking that the San Luis Obispo Area CHP and SLO Police Department be barred from discussing the case on social media or with the press.

The filling claims the law enforcement agencies spread blatantly false narratives and prejudicial misinformation in several Facebook and Instagram posts. 

In one of the posts referenced, the CHP stated, while on Highway 101 on July 21, a group of protesters became violent and circled a driver. Protesters attacked the vehicle, with one suspect jumping on the hood of the car and another suspect breaking the rear window with a skateboard. 

The shattered glass hit a four-year-old child in the backseat, according to the CHP.

Arata’s attorneys claim the CHP and SLO Police Department have jeopardized their client’s right to a fair trial with an unbiased jury. 

However, supporters of Arata have also promoted their narrative that the drivers were the aggressors on social media and at rallies, included one of her attorneys leading the chant, “Free Tianna.”

Arata is currently facing 13 misdemeanor charges for her actions on July 21, when she led approximately 300 protesters onto Highway 101, blocking all lanes in both directions for nearly an hour. In addition to the incident involving the smashed window, protesters blocked drivers trying to exit the highway, including a father attempting to take his pregnant daughter to the hospital.

Prosecutors have 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. Arata has yet to enter a plea in the case. 

In addition, Arata could face additional charges as the CHP concludes its investigation.

Arata is scheduled for a hearing on the gag motion and a motion to dismiss on Oct. 22.

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