Opinion » Shredder

Grow up!

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The case against the protesters who took to Highway 101 in July 2020 and had some, umm, interactions with motorists keeps going from bad to worse. It's like a bad TV police drama you can't pull your eyes away from, only nothing heinous occurred.

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No one was murdered.

No one was permanently maimed.

No one could be a SVU victim.

Mostly, it's a war of words. Words, people! And now, some drone footage, too.

We've got an attorney who I'll call, umm, less than professional—and no I'm not talking about SLO County District Attorney Dan Down, although he is also, umm, way less than professional, and I've said as much ad nauseum. I'm referring to showman and pro-bono attorney Vincent Barrientos, who is representing protester Sam Grocott.

Grocott, who was hit by a silver BMW during the protest, is charged with three misdemeanors of violating the personal liberty and the drivers and occupants of three vehicles. Seriously? That's on Dow and his obvious anti-Black Lives Matter sentiment, which he obviously and unprofessionally applied to the cases he filed against seven protesters involved in that July BLM protest.

How many cities have had highway protests that resulted in weird charges like that filed against protesters? Really! I want to know.

God, I'm so glad that Dow and the SLO County District Attorney's Office were taken off the case. Because without their help, we wouldn't be dealing with this shitshow right now.

Barrientos accused Dow and his District Attorney's Office compatriots and the California Highway Patrol of lying about what happened to the public and the press. And he just might be right! The drone footage that Barrientos publicly leaked to everyone and their cousins shows a very different scenario than what the CHP peddled to the public shortly after the, umm, interactions on Highway 101 between protesters and motorists.

The CHP stated that a suspect, Grocott, jumped on the hood of a vehicle attempting to drive around the protesters. The footage captured by the San Luis Obispo Police Department appears to show this vehicle actively hitting the protester.

"The motorist's vehicle was attacked by the protesters," a Facebook post from the CHP said.

Well, things are a little bit more complicated than that, considering that this drone video shows that protesters only attacked the vehicle after it hit a bicyclist and then Grocott.

Barrientos sent a letter to the CHP accusing the officer in question of supporting "SLO District Attorney Dan Dow's thinly veiled white power agenda." Wait, what? Dow is definitely an ultra-conservative white Christian dude who's struggling to deal with Black Lives Matter accusations against the law enforcement system he is enmeshed in. Dow is in denial about the systemic racism that exists within the whole apparatus because he literally doesn't see it and he's completely out of line when it comes to mixing work with his religious beliefs. But to call it a white power agenda? I don't know that it's as well-defined as all that.

"It begs the question, why is [the driver], a white, racist, not facing any criminal charges for intentionally driving into my client's person," Barrientos states in the letter. "At this point in time, it's unclear whether you have poor vision, your refusal to arrest [the driver] is to advance your power and acting as Dan Dow's submissive to promote his racist, white power agenda."

Sheesh! That's quite an accusation.

The white BMW driver is definitely an idiot, in both the narrowest and broadest definitions of the word. He apparently really needed to check in to his hotel in the middle of the afternoon. Umm, OK? Maybe he needed to pee?

"I'm going to fish off the God-damned pier, drink some wine, vape, like, fuck these fucking idiots," the driver was recorded as saying to law enforcement officers. "Not one fucking colored person in the whole God-damned mob. You guys gotta be shitting me. Like you guys are doing this dumb shit and there's not one colored person here."

Wow. He sounds cool. I definitely need to fish, drink wine, and vape. But I can't do any of that until I check in! It's a rule in SLO County. Get me to my hotel, stat!

He just sounds like an impatient asshole from the Central Valley who doesn't understand a concept called empathy. Who doesn't understand that white people are standing up against a system they believe should change for the better of a race other than their own so that people like his dumbass will actually pay attention.

And he absolutely should have been charged with something. Literally, anything, for his actions.

He does sound like a total racist jerk who doesn't know the difference between saying "colored people" and "people of color." But, is the tone of that letter from an attorney in what essentially comes down to a civil rights case appropriate?

It just feeds the fuel of those who seek to discredit the BLM movement. Stick to the facts, Jack. His statements speak for themselves! The only part of it I'm fully in agreement with is when Barrientos asks the CHP to let the public know about its misrepresentation of the facts.

Everyone just needs to put their adult pants on and get on with it. Δ

The Shredder is begging the grown-ups to act like adults. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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