By David M. Greenwald
Santa Rosa, CA – It is a strange case where prominent Black Lives Matter activists are accused of leaving pig blood and a pig’s head at the former home of Barry Brodd—the a former officer with the Santa Rosa Police Department, who testified for the defense as a use-of-force expert during the trial of Derek Chauvin. Now legendary defense attorney Tony Serra will take up the defense for one of the defendants.
According to media accounts, three women—Rowan Dalbey, 20, Kristen Aumoithe, 34, and Amber Lucas, 35, all of Santa Rosa, were arrested last week on felony vandalism and conspiracy charges. They were cited and released.
Media accounts report that the women smeared pig blood—or what appeared to be pig blood—on a large hand statue in Santa Rosa Plaza and left a picture of a pig reading, “Oink Oink.”
The home apparently once belonged to—but does not currently belong to—Brodd. Brodd, a former Santa Rosa police officer, testified at the murder trial that he believes Chauvin’s restraint of Floyd was in keeping with proper police practice according to an account by the AP.
“It appears the suspects in this vandalism were targeting Mr. Brodd for his testimony,” the police statement reads.
The arrests caused a sensation last week and now prominent Bay Area “freedom defense lawyers” have agreed to represent three Black Lives Matter activists who they believe are “falsely accused” of the alleged crimes.
Brodd testified for the defense of Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd.
Brodd testified, “I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, was acting with objective reasonableness following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement in his interactions with Mr. Floyd.
“I don’t consider a prone control as a use of force,” Brodd said, explaining that keeping a person in the prone position would prevent them from choking if they vomited and is the best position to avoid inflicting pain.
“I felt that officer Chauvin’s interactions with Mr. Floyd were following his training, following current practices in policing,” Brodd said, “and were objectively reasonable.”
Brodd’s testimony was later disavowed by Police Chief Rainer Navarro, who issued a statement that Brodd’s “comments do not reflect the values and beliefs of the Santa Rosa Police Department.”
Legendary trial lawyer Tony Serra of San Francisco, known as the hippie Atticus Finch for his defense of counterculture figures, represents Rowan Dalbey. San Francisco lawyer Vincent Barrientos, who has also made headlines defending high- profile cases, represents Kristen Aumoithe. Well-known Sonoma County lawyers Omar Figueroa and Lauren Mendelsohn represent Amber Lucas, a wine influencer who was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We look forward to presenting a vigorous defense against these false accusations of vandalism,” said Tony Serra. “The defense will demand an open and public jury trial.”
“The evidence will show that this is the work of an agent provocateur,” said attorney Vincent Barrientos. “These Black Lives Matter activists are innocent of the bogus charges for which they were arrested: leaving blood and a pig’s head at the former residence of Derek Chauvin’s expert.”
“Our clients are respected members of the community and we are eager to clear their names,” said Lauren Mendelsohn.
“We are honored to represent good people who stand up for all of our rights,” said Omar Figueroa. “For example, my client Amber Lucas is a well-respected wine influencer and social justice activist who sits on the Commission on the Status of Women in Sonoma County.”
Brodd’s opinion was attempting to counter several Minneapolis Police Department use-of-force trainers as well as the police chief who had testified that Chauvin’s use of force was excessive, unnecessary and not written anywhere in the agency’s policies and practices.
“That action is not de-escalation,” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified during the trial, “And when we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life and when we talk about our principles and the values that we have, that action goes contrary to what we are talking about.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting
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