Update 11:40

A crowd of about 200 protestors remain in front of the courthouse after the press conference.

The majority of protestors are college-aged, though some are older.

Seven SLO PD officers and sheriff deputies sit on bikes at the corner of Osos Street and Monterey Street, where two activists are talking with a group of about 20 counter-protestors.

Update 11:17

Arata ends the Free Tianna press conference by chanting, “if I don’t get no justice, then they don’t get no peace,” and starts the joy rally.

Update 11:13

The crowd chanted, “it is our duty to fight for our freedom, it is our duty to win, we must love each other and support each other, we have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Update 11:00

Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter L.A. Melina Abdullah spoke at the protest.

She said that people did bus in to SLO from L.A. to stand with Arata, but they are not paid protestors, they are teachers, parents, and friends there to support Arata.

“You know what beats the power of the state? The power of the people,” Abdullah said. “We won’t allow the state to steal the life and the freedom of Tianna Arata because we’re going to stand with her.”

The crowd cheered.

“In Free Tianna, we make Black Lives Matter — and we will win,” Abdullah said.

Update 10:53

Arata said she started protesting when 14-years-old, and through her advocacy work she learned about her community, systems of oppression, and the power communities have to make change.

“My passion, my goal, and my energy is directed towards enacting change, this is not something that can come from divisiveness.” Arata said.

Arata said she has prioritized “understanding and embracing the role of empathy in this movement.”

“Being black in America, being a minority in America, every day we deal with counter protestors,” Arata said. “We are stronger, and we are resilient.”

Arata then lead the crowd in a thunderous “Black lives matter” chant.

“We will not be silenced,” Arata said.

Update 10:48 a.m.

“This is about love, this is not political, this is a human rights issue,” local teacher and Tianna Arata’s mother Michelle Arata said. “My daughter’s life is at stake, her future is at stake. She is my world, do not take her from me.”

Update 10:33 a.m.

A few hundred people are in the crowd watching the press conference.

Update 10:25 a.m.

With counter-protestors chanting on the street corner, speaker and SLO Democratic Party Chair Rita Casaverde said “let them hear us,” as press conference attendees chant in support of Tianna Arata.

Original Story 

The Free Tianna Arata press conference started at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 25 in front of the court house.

Arata’s attorney Curtis Briggs began the press conference by leading the crowd in a “Free Tianna” chant.

Briggs then asked District Attorney Dan Dow to drop Arata’s charges, and called for the termination of San Luis Obispo Police Department’s Police Chief Deanna Cantrell.

The San Luis Obispo Police Department arrested Arata after a protest on July 21, on charges of participation in a riot, unlawful assembly, conspiracy, unlawful imprisonment and resisting arrest, according to a SLOPD press release.

This is a developing story and it will be updated as more information becomes available.

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