Three women arrested in vandalism of ex-Santa Rosa officer’s former home
Three women involved in local Black Lives Matter protests were arrested this week in connection with the vandalism of a home tied to an ex-Santa Rosa police officer who served as an expert in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of killing George Floyd, police said.
Amber Lucas, 35, Rowan Dalbey, 20, and Kristen Aumoithe, 34, all of Santa Rosa, were booked into the Sonoma County Jail on Tuesday on suspicion of felony conspiracy to commit a crime and two felony vandalism charges, the Santa Rosa Police Department said in a news release Wednesday.
Lucas, a social media wine and lifestyle influencer who sits on the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women, has organized and attended several peaceful local demonstrations in the wake of Floyd’s murder and has been a vocal critic of local law enforcement on social media and during public meetings.
She helped coordinate an April 20 candlelight vigil at the Santa Rosa Junior College the night Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
Both Dalbey and Aumoithe have also participated in Sonoma County protests seeking police reform.
The Sonoma County Superior Court website showed no criminal cases for any of the women.
None of the women arrested by police remained in custody as of Wednesday, when authorities announced detectives were searching for additional suspects in the vandalism case.
The agency declined to provide specifics about what they suspected the women’s individual roles in the crime were or why they believed additional people were involved, citing the ongoing search for other potential suspects, Santa Rosa Police Lt. Jeneane Kucker said.
A judge signed search warrants for each of the women’s homes, which police used at the time of their arrests, Kucker said.
“(It was) detectives going out and talking to people who have either come forward, or information that we’ve received either anonymously or otherwise,” Kucker said of the investigation leading up to Tuesday’s arrests.
None of the women arrested could immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Police said their arrests stem from the April 17 vandalism of a west Santa Rosa home in which a resident told police they were woken up at around 3:07 a.m. by a group of people dressed in black clothing. The group splattered blood on the front of the home and left a pig’s head on the front porch, police said.
The group ran away as the resident called police.
Less than an hour later, the “Agraria” hand sculpture outside the Santa Rosa Plaza was found covered in animal blood. The suspects left a sign in front of the statue with a picture of a pig and the words “Oink Oink,” police said.
Barry Brodd, a former Santa Rosa officer and Santa Rosa Junior College police academy instructor who testified in Chauvin’s trail, had previously lived at the residence targeted by the vandals, though he had moved out several years prior, police said.
Brodd was a part-time instructor at the Santa Rosa Junior College Public Training Center’s police academy from 1973 to 2013. He additionally worked for the Santa Rosa Police Department for 22 years up until 2004.
During Chauvin’s trial, Brodd served as a use-of-force expert for the defense. After reviewing the case, Brodd said he determined Chauvin’s actions followed “current practices in policing and were objectively reasonable.”
Police theorized that Brodd’s recent testimony served as the motive for falsely targeting the home, causing damages estimated at several thousands of dollars.
Police allege the same group was behind the vandalism of the hand statue, leading to the two felony vandalism counts for each of the women arrested on Tuesday.
A request for information about the group’s next court date was not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon, though a Sonoma County Superior Court calendar did not indicate they were due before a judge on Thursday.
Prosecutors had not yet received police reports for the case on Wednesday, Sonoma County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said.
You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or email@example.com. On Twitter @nashellytweets.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Press Democrat
Who calls the North Bay home and how do their backgrounds, socioeconomic status and other factors shape their experiences? What cultures, traditions and religions are celebrated where we live? These are the questions that drive me as I cover diversity, equity and inclusion in Sonoma County and beyond.