At least 14 people were arrested in connection with a rally for justice for Kelly Thomas on Saturday, after protesters blocked intersections and streets, intimidated drivers and refused to disperse, according to the Fullerton Police Department.
About 150 people gathered Saturday morning in front of the Fullerton police station to demand justice for Thomas less than a week after a jury found former police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli not guilty in Thomas’ death.
Two people were arrested for vandalism, one for assault, one for robbery and 10 for refusing to follow an order to disperse, according to Fullerton police.
The department is reviewing video footage of the incident and has identified additional suspects, which will probably lead to more arrests, the department said.
“All efforts were made in an attempt to ensure a lawful and peaceful demonstration could occur. We went out of our way to accommodate the protesters; coordinating with organizers, providing barricades and blocking intersections for them,” said Fullerton Chief Dan Hughes in a press release.
The peaceful rally took a turn after a videographer who was filming the demonstration for CBS-2 was allegedly struck in the face by a female protester. The reporter sought shelter in the news van as several people surrounded the vehicle, preventing it from leaving, police said.
The news crew called 911, resulting in the arrest of a Tustin resident, police said. The videographer sustained minor facial injuries but was not hospitalized, according to Sgt. Jeff Stuart.
Many Fullerton residents also called 911 to ask for assistance in driving through the area. Police declared the protest an unlawful assembly and issued a dispersal order, the department said. Most protesters cooperated, but one group refused to follow orders, which resulted in additional arrests.
“It is unfortunate that a group of out-of-towners chose to violate the law,” said Hughes.
Two people were arrested for spray-painting graffiti at the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue and on the police station.
An additional suspect was arrested and charged with robbery after he attempted to steal items from a Stater Bros. store in the 300 block of North Euclid Avenue, according to police. When a clerk attempted to stop him, he pushed the employee to the ground.