Police in Northern California have arrested three social activists on charges that they vandalized the former home of a police expert witness after he testified on behalf of fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during his murder trial in the death of George Floyd.
The arrests Tuesday in Santa Rosa were in connection with the targeting in mid-April of the onetime residence of defense use-of-force witness and retired police officer Barry Brodd. Pig's blood was smeared on the house in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco, and a pig's head was left there.
Police were quick to conclude that the thousands of dollars of damage appeared to be in response to the testimony from Brodd, who said Chauvin's restraint technique late last spring used on Floyd was justified. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges and awaits a June 25 sentencing.
The suspects were booked on charges of felony vandalism and conspiracy. They were identified Wednesday by police as Rowan Dalbey, 20, Kristen Aumoithe, 34, and Amber Lucas, 35, all from Santa Rosa. Aumoithe was released in lieu of $10,000 bail, while her co-defendants were released on their own recognizance. Messages were left with each woman seeking their response to the allegations.
After targeting the home on April 17, the women also allegedly smeared pig's blood on a sculpture in Santa Rosa Plaza and left a picture of a pig reading "Oink Oink." They have also been charged with that vandalism, police said.
In a statement announcing the arrests, police added that "we believe there are additional suspects that were involved and are asking for our community's help in identifying them."
During his testimony in Hennepin County District Court on April 13, Brodd said, "I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified and acting with objective reasonableness following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement in his interactions with Mr. Floyd."
Brodd, who served 22 years in the Santa Rosa Police Department before his retirement in 2004, said under cross-examination that Floyd was "resting comfortably" in one moment on the pavement as Chauvin and two other officers restrained him.
Later on the same day of Brodd's testimony, Santa Rosa Police Chief Rainer Navarro said in a statement, "Mr. Brodd's comments do not reflect the values and beliefs of the Santa Rosa Police Department."
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat on Wednesday reported that Lucas is a social media wine and lifestyle influencer who serves on the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women. She has organized local demonstrations in the wake of Floyd's death and has been a critic of local law enforcement. Dalbey and Aumoithe have also participated in local protests advocating for police reform.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482