IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — A Black Lives Matter protester said Tuesday she was wrongly targeted by San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies and all charges should be dropped against her following an encounter with deputies over the weekend in Imperial Beach.
“I came to Imperial Beach to support my friends, family and community. After the march, I started chalking on the pier. A harassing drunk man came and attempted to throw water on the art and me. I pushed his water cup away and he threatened to beat me up. People came to my defense and I watched him from afar threaten another person,” said Margarita Servin, 24, of the incident on Sunday.
Servin was arrested on charges of battery and resisting arrest. She was released after posting a $20,000 bail on June 7.
Deputies say a follow-up investigation shows the man who first reported the incident was punched in the face by a now identified woman, who was not Servin.
“All charges should be dropped against Margarita. She was here expressing her First Amendment rights. And what does she get for her First Amendment rights? Beat down and jumped by law enforcement. She wasn’t even the person that they were looking for,” said Yusef Miller of the North County Equity & Justice Coalition.
Deputies contend Servin pulled away from the deputy when they told her she was under arrest. At least three of the protesters grabbed the woman to keep her from being taken into custody, they say. Additional protesters began attacking, pushing, scratching and spitting on the deputies resulting in minor injuries, according to deputies. One protester was seen stomping on a body camera and another body camera was stolen, deputies say.
“We encourage the peaceful gathering of people to express themselves. We respect everyone’s right to be heard. However, violent acts and threats of violence have no place in peaceful demonstrations. We ask the public to cooperate with deputies when they are called to investigate crimes,” the department said in a news release.
“I do appreciate the fact that they have since said that they realize that she wasn’t the person that hit the person. Now they need to drop all the charges because she wasn’t resisting arrest, she was not under arrest,” said Marcus Boyd of the Imperial Beach People’s Alliance.