You have permission to edit this article.
Santa Maria Police arrest two, impound vehicles in connection with Sunday's civil unrest

Santa Maria Police arrest two, impound vehicles in connection with Sunday's civil unrest

  • Updated

Two people were arrested Wednesday and their vehicles were impounded by Santa Maria Police in connection with Sunday night's civil unrest, which involved looting at the Town Center Mall and removal of the American flag from in front of City Hall.

The unrest evolved after a peaceful demonstration against police brutality earlier in the afternoon. 

The arrest of the two suspects, who have not been identified, came after investigators reviewed video surveillance of several acts of vandalism that occurred after Sunday's protest, Santa Maria Police Lt. Russ Mengel said. 

The two vehicles — a red Mazda Miata and a black Dodge Ram pickup truck — were seized by police because they were seen on video engaging in acts of reckless driving near the Town Center. 

Video evidence included live footage from social media, the Santa Maria Police light pole-mounted POD system and tipsters, who bombarded investigators with cellphone footage, Mengel said.

He added that police normally don't reveal details of an investigation but are doing so in an effort to prevent a similar incident. 

The two individuals were cited and released, although police are putting together a case for prosecution, Mengel said, adding that no arrests have been made in the vandalism and looting incidents.

Mengel said he expects more arrests will be coming. 

"We're doing this to hopefully deter anyone from trying to pull something like that again," Mengel said. "Let's just hope things calm down in the next few days." 

The unrest followed a gathering of hundreds who peacefully protested the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 and marched down South Broadway to Cook Street, where City Hall and the mall are located.

After most of the protesters left at approximately 6 p.m., the gathering devolved into a chaotic scene in which hundreds more people lit fireworks and ignited a bonfire in the middle of the intersection as motorists performed burnouts and donuts in the street. 

Several law enforcement agencies intervened around midnight, according to Mengel, who said officials were monitoring the scene throughout the night. 

During a press conference following Sunday's incident, Mayor Alice Patino instituted a citywide 9 p.m to 5 a.m. curfew until June 8. 

No arrests or incidents have resulted from the curfew, Mengel said. 


Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alert

Breaking News