Felony charge dropped in Rohnert Park scuffle involving SSU students

A Sonoma State University student who was arrested after a scuffle with police during a late-night 21st birthday party was released from jail Friday after a court appearance in which she was charged with three misdemeanors.

Amanda Catherine Alvarado, 21, had been held initially on a felony charge of suspected lynching carrying $100,000 bail after a police officer said she pushed him to try to free a friend who was being detained.

But the lynching charge was dropped altogether when Alvarado went to court Friday, according to court records. She still faces misdemeanor charges and is to return to court Sept. 5.

Amid an uproar over what friends and some witnesses say was excessive force by law enforcement, Alvarado and sorority sister Sarra Jean Qutob, 21, were arrested by Rohnert Park Public Safety officers responding to reports of a party and disturbance at the women's Mitchell Drive residence shortly before midnight Wednesday, police said.

A responding officer reportedly was trying to determine who resided at the house when Qutob, whose birthday was Thursday, approached and said she lived there, Lt. Jeff Taylor said Thursday.

But the officer said she refused to give her name when he asked for it and tried to leave the area, though a party-goer, James Richardson, said she was in fact returning to the cab in which she had been sitting to retrieve her identification.

As Officer Rick Bates was trying to arrest Qutob for public intoxication, another woman, later identified as Alvarado, pushed him and tried to grab Qutob out of the officer's grasp, Taylor said.

A second officer wrestled Alvarado to the ground to try to get her under control while Bates took Qutob into custody, Taylor said.

At one point videotaped by an onlooker, Qutob fell to the ground — stumbling on her high heels, according to friends, though the officer believed her to be resisting arrest, Taylor said.

Some of the estimated 25 party-goers on the scene can be heard yelling, crying and screaming, as one man repeatedly urges police to "not drag a girl, officer."

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