Justice for Elias! Drop all Charges Now!

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Please sign this petition to demand the dropping of charges for Elias Bautista (they/them/theirs), a young organizer and resident of the Central Coast who was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and taking a person from lawful custody of peace officer (please see our note below regarding the prior naming of this charge as “lynching” under California Law, until 2015). 

Contribute to the Gofundme to help cover Elias’s legal fees: Justice for Elias (Legal Costs) organized by Richard Fusillo. Contact San Luis Obispo Representatives to get Elias's charges dropped using: https://linktr.ee/supportelias.

On July 21, 2020, around 8:35 p.m., following a “No Justice, No Peace” protest organized by a coalition of local Black and Brown protesters who marched through the city of San Luis Obispo and at one point occupied Highway 101, the San Luis Obispo police surrounded and accosted Tianna Arata, a key organizer, as she and fellow demonstrators were packing up her vehicle. Elias, alongside a handful of members of the coalition, attempted to defend Tianna from this targeted arrest acting on their knowledge that even routine police stops, let alone those involving the arrest of prominent protest leaders, often lead to abuse and/or fatal repercussions for Black folks who are being detained.

Only two people were violently arrested at the end of that demonstration: Tianna Arata and Elias Bautista. This is a time when solidarity is imperative. Both protestors took to the streets to demand an end to racist police brutality and to insist that communities of color have the right to live without the fear of policing. We must stand, as a community dedicated to racial justice, in defense of both Tianna and Elias.

Elias is 23 years old and a local community member of Santa Maria. They have been involved with youth organizing and racial justice work since they were 16 years old, beginning with Future Leaders of America and later the Central Coast Alliance United for Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) Youth Coalition. Elias is a student at University of California Santa Cruz  (UCSC), finishing their degree in Critical Race & Ethnic Studies. Since returning home due to COVID-19, while still pursuing their education, Elias has continued to organize in their hometown. They co-founded Santa Maria Youth Abolitionists, an organization focused on abolishing all systems of violence by creating community networks of care.

We must protect our activists fighting for Black Lives and against police abuse and police murder! Demand that District Attorney Dan Dow drop the charges for Elias Bautista and Tianna Arata! Sign the petition now!

--- Note regarding “lynching”: A 1933 California law created described “lynching” as removing someone from lawful police custody. In 2015, Governor Brown signed a bill into law to remove the language “lynching” from the law due to the more widely accepted understanding of lynching as the murder of Black Americans via hanging. The rest of the penal code remains the same.

Bill Text - SB-629 Crimes: taking person from lawful custody of peace officer.

Gov. Brown signs measure striking 'lynching' charge from California law

Black woman's 'lynching' charge: an unsettling tactic to punish activism?