ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE
Case # 15CM07231
Date: June 25, 2015
SANTA ANA – Five protesters are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for delaying police officers and obstructing a Santa Ana street by chaining themselves together. Mariela Martinez, 23, Los Angeles, Jorge Hernandez, 25, Oakland, Sandra Paola Jara Riveros, 33, Pasadena, Isaia Celestino Noyola, 36, Vellejo, and Jeffrey Christopher Neel, 43, Anaheim, are charged with one misdemeanor count each of obstructing or delaying a peace officer, obstructing passage on a public street, and unlawfully loitering or sitting on a public street. If convicted, each of the defendants face a maximum sentence of one year in jail and $1,000 fine. The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, June 26, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-54, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At approximately 8:30 a.m. on May 28, 2015, the five defendants were part of a group of approximately 50 individuals participating in a protest regarding the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants who are part of the LGBT community. The protestors gathered at the intersection of Civic Center Drive and Flower Street in Santa Ana, near the Central Justice Center to begin their demonstration. The protest was not pre-planned with the City of Santa Ana, and no permits had been issued allowing blockage of the intersection as required by law.
The defendants are accused of walking into the middle of the intersection and chaining themselves together with metal chains and locks. Despite the lack of notice to the city, Santa Ana police officers allowed the demonstration to continue, but instructed the protesters to clear the intersection and move to the sidewalk so that blocked vehicles could pass. Continual dispersal orders were given to the protesters in both English and Spanish through an amplified speaker system.
The defendants are accused of delaying officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) by refusing to unchain themselves or move out of the intersection. At approximately 9:10 a.m., all of the other protestors followed SAPD orders, moved to the sidewalk, and were not cited or arrested. They were then allowed to continue their protest from the sidewalk.
The five defendants are accused of remaining chained together and blocking the intersection. SAPD officers then began cutting the defendants’ chains, and told the defendants that they could still avoid arrest by moving out of the intersection. The defendants are accused of failing to do so, and were subsequently arrested.
As a result of the lack of notice given to the city, SAPD was forced to re-allocate resources to ensure public safety. Officers and detectives from several different units were pulled away from their regular duties and re-assigned to cover the protest, resulting in an extra cost to the city of Santa Ana.
Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.
TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff