Vaccine bill protester threw blood on California senators, investigation confirms

A California Highway Patrol Officer photographs a desk on the Senate floor after a red liquid was thrown from the Senate Gallery.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A red liquid thrown by a protester from the visitors gallery of the California Senate chamber in an “unanticipated attack” on state lawmakers during the final night of the legislative session was found to be blood, according to the state Senate.

Secretary of the Senate Erika Contreras sent an email to staff members on Wednesday that said “lab tests confirmed that the substance thrown from the Senate gallery was human blood.” Safety precautions were taken in hiring a company certified in hazard cleanup to sanitize the chamber, and the blood tested negative for any blood-borne pathogens or infections, Contreras wrote.

California Highway Patrol officers arrested Rebecca Dalelio, 43, on assault and vandalism charges shortly after she allegedly tossed what officials said at time “appeared to be blood” from a menstrual cup onto several members of the state Senate on Sept. 13.

Dalelio was among dozens of protesters who came to the state Capitol that day to oppose a pair of bills that Gov. Gavin Newsom had signed into law to create new oversight of vaccine exemptions for schoolchildren. A voice in the crowd said it was “for the dead babies” as the contents of the cup were thrown onto lawmakers.

Senate officials immediately cleared the chamber and roped off the floor. Some lawmakers left to shower and at least one legislator was treated for blood exposure the next day.

With the chamber temporarily shut down, the Senate reconvened hours later in a committee hearing room for the first time in decades and took final action on legislation, eventually adjourning for the year around 3 a.m. the next day. The Senate chamber remained closed until Wednesday.
The vaccine legislation sparked weeks of intense protests over the summer in Sacramento, with hundreds packing into hearing rooms to voice their opposition. An anti-vaccine activist accosted Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who wrote the bill, near the Capitol in August.

Dalelio, a resident of Boulder Creek, near Santa Cruz, is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 18 in Sacramento, although a criminal complaint has not been filed against her at this time.