Santa Rosa police on Thursday arrested a man involved in youth protests over the shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez.
Police said in a news release that officers arrested Jose Godoy, 24, after they found him and several youths in his car with marijuana during school hours.
Godoy said he could not comment on whether the allegations were true. He said he felt police had again singled him out, after several other run-ins with law enforcement in recent months.
Lt. John Snetsinger replied that police did not target Godoy. A resident of the area near West Eighth Street where the arrest was made reported suspicious activity in a car and officers responded, he said.
They found Godoy, 19-year-old Guillermo Ortiz, and four minors ages 12, 13, 14 and 15 in Godoy's car, along with a range of marijuana products and smoking paraphernalia, some of which were still warm, Snetsinger said.
The youths were reportedly skipping school. Police arrested Godoy on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor, and violating his probation.
"These types of cases are a dime a dozen, but you don't always find 13- to 15-year-old kids (smoking) in the company of adults," Snetsinger said, when asked why the department issued a news release about the arrest. "As police officers and parents, we think it rises to a level a lot higher than a person smoking (medical marijuana) on their own."
Activist Mary Moore acknowledged that Godoy's actions were "stupid."
But, she said, she thought the arrest distracted from the larger issue of Lopez's death and what she said was a lack of immediate repercussions for Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus, who fatally shot the Santa Rosa boy after reportedly mistaking the BB gun he was carrying for an assault rifle. The shooting is still under review by Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch.
Godoy has been heavily involved with protests in the aftermath of Lopez's death. This week, he joined Cook Middle School students who staged a march on the campus of Elsie Allen High School, an activity that prompted a school lockdown, police said.
Godoy is set to appear in court May 5 related to separate burglary and petty theft charges, according to the District Attorney's Office.
You can reach Staff Writer Jamie Hansen at 521-5205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.