Santa Barbara woman harangues street vendor in second viral video; D.A. brings charges

Man stands in an empty Santa Barbara intersection
Activist Edin Alex Enamorado stands at the Santa Barbara intersection where hundreds gathered to protest last month after the release of a video of a white woman’s interaction with a Latino man.
(Faith E. Pinho / Los Angeles Times)

A month ago, a viral video of a woman railing against a Latino construction worker rocked Santa Barbara, raising conversations around the dynamic between white and Latino people in the coastal town.

A second video surfaced last week in which she appears to harangue a taco vendor. And now the Santa Barbara County district attorney has charged Jeanne Umana with battery and trespassing.

In the first video, filmed on his phone, construction worker Luis Cervantes tells the woman, who had walked onto a construction site, that she was on private property and had to go. As she’s walking away, Umana turns and says, “I live here. I’m American; you’re a Tijuanan.” The video sparked a large protest in Santa Barbara, with hundreds pouring into the street to decry what many deemed racist behavior.


In an interview with The Times the following day, Umana, 74, apologized for her remarks, saying her “judgment went very, very badly.”

Hundreds gathered in downtown Santa Barbara Sunday night following a viral video capturing a white woman arguing with a Latino man.

Sept. 18, 2023

A second video, posted by activist Edin Alex Enamorado last week, shows Umana in a separate incident speaking harshly to a sidewalk vendor at a park.

Enamorado, based in the Inland Empire, frequently posts viral video of incidents he believes to be racist and is known as an advocate for sidewalk vendors.

Umana told the local news outlet the Santa Barbara Independent that the second video was recorded in August, before last month’s incident.

“You’re illegal,” Umana says to the sidewalk vendor, who repeatedly asks what the problem is.

“You’re a crook. You’re an illegal crook. You know what crook is? I thought you didn’t speak English! You don’t speak English, because you’re a liar and a crook,” Umana says, threatening the vendor with calls to the police.


Umana claimed in the video that she works “for the Police Department,” as she did in the previous viral video. The Santa Barbara Police Department confirmed Umana does not work for the department.

City Councilman Oscar Gutierrez said he was troubled by “the level of confidence that she showed in both those videos.”

“And my biggest issue,” he added, “is just the targeting of people of color. ... And feeling that she can associate herself with the city really, really bothers me.”

Gutierrez said he was grateful Umana had been charged, though he was “pretty disappointed” the district attorney did not pursue a hate crime charge, which Santa Barbara police had recommended. Enamorado agreed, saying that, as an activist, “it feels that [the D.A.] gave us nothing.”

A historian in Santa Barbara conducts tours to show that Latinos, who make up more than a third of the city’s population, are central to its existence.

Oct. 11, 2023

“Based on the evidence that we have at this point, we filed the charges we believed we could prove to a jury of 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Jennifer Karapetian, Santa Barbara’s chief deputy district attorney. Umana’s arraignment is set for Nov. 30.

Asked whether the second video spurred action by the district attorney, Karapetian did not address the timing of the charges.


Gutierrez said he’d asked the city attorney to look into sending Umana a cease and desist letter so she would stop claiming to work for the city.

“The audacity she had to feel like she could represent the people on that level, and then for her to go out and attack people of color, is just beyond obscene,” Gutierrez said. “It’s criminal.”

Umana could not be reached for comment.