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Santa Rosa Police Department
Sunday June 21st, 2020 :: 12:38 p.m. PDT

Community

Vehicle Vandalism and Assault during Planned Protest

On Saturday June 20th, at approximately 9:20pm, Santa Rosa Police Officers responded to a reported assault and vandalism near the Santa Rosa Police Department. The victim stated that her vehicle had been vandalized by a group of protesters and one of them had punched her in the face.

At the same time this call for service came in, several protesters involved in the “Santa Rosa 24 Hour Protest for Peace and Justice”, called to report that a vehicle had just driven recklessly through the crowd of protesters near Santa Rosa PD on Sonoma Avenue. The callers stated that some protesters may have been hit by the vehicle. The vehicle was described as a white SUV.

Officers met with the driver of the vehicle a short distance away from the police department. She told the officers that she had just got off her shift as a nurse at a local hospital. It was dark as she was driving westbound on Sonoma Avenue, unaware that there was a planned protest. She told officers that she suddenly saw flashlights shining at her and came upon a large crowd of people. She stated that she pulled over as far to the right of the roadway as she could, thinking the crowd would let her through.

As she tried to continue west, she told the officers that she was stopped by protesters who blocked her movement on the roadway. At one point someone threw a skateboard and a bicycle at her vehicle and broke her windshield. The driver said she was scared due to a “swarm” of people blocking the street and her vehicle as she tried to continue westbound out of the crowd. She said she did not try to hit anyone, she just wanted to leave and escape the crowd. She was able to pull over farther down the road where it was clear. She didn’t know how fast she drove trying to get away from the crowd. She later told officers that a subject had followed her on a bicycle and when she stopped away from the crowd, he approached her vehicle and punched her in the face. He was described as a white male adult in his twenties, with a bald head, and tattoos on his face and arms. A bystander tried to chase the subject as he rode away but could not catch up to him.

SRPD officers met with several protesters who believed that the driver of the SUV intentionally drove through the crowd. There was some discrepancy as to how fast the vehicle was driving. Several protesters provided video footage of the incident to the officers on scene. The videos show the protesters taking over all lanes of traffic on Sonoma Avenue, heading eastbound. It also showed it was dark outside. In the videos, it is clear that the vehicle is approaching the crowd and you can hear several people yelling profanities at the driver. At one point, protesters surround the vehicle and the vehicle is struck by several unknown objects and a skateboard. Because the vehicles’ path was blocked by protesters, the driver tried to maneuver her way out of the crowd until her path was clear. There is no indication from the videos that the driver was trying to run over protesters on purpose. The videos do show the driver trying  to accelerate somewhat away from the crowd.

At the time of this press release, SRPD has not been contacted by anyone who said they were struck by the vehicle during this incident. The suspect who assaulted the driver has not been apprehended. Due to the nature of this incident, the name of the driver of the SUV will not be released at this time. This investigation is on-going. Anyone with information about this incident involving the vehicle or with information on the suspect who assaulted the driver,  is encouraged to contact SRPD’s non-emergency phone number, 707-528-5222.

Address/Location
Santa Rosa Police Department
965 Sonoma Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-543-3600

Sergeant Summer Gloeckner
Field Services Division
707-543-3600

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