Santa Rosa police arrested a Santa Rosa man Tuesday afternoon during a march to protest the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy last month. David Douglass, 24, was arrested for delaying or resisting a police officer during the march on Mendocino Avenue. He was booked into Sonoma County Jail but has since posted bail and been released. About 100 people marched from Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa north on Mendocino Avenue around 2:30 p.m., Sgt. Jerry Soares said.
They walked in the two northbound lanes, causing traffic delays and gridlock that forced motorists to find alternate routes, Soares said. Soares said all but a few of the protesters ignored orders to leave the roadway and march on the sidewalk, and some shouted profanities at the officer who was making the request via loudspeaker from a marked patrol. Officers then detained several marchers and issued citations for blocking a roadway, and Douglass allegedly resisted officers when they tried to remove him from the road, Soares said. Police called for backup when the crowd became angry and surrounded the officers, Soares said.
The marchers then complied and moved onto the sidewalk, but 12 were issued citations for walking in the roadway, Soares said. The march continued to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office on Ventura Avenue, then to the Sonoma County Superior Courthouse nearby. Another demonstration is planned for Tuesday afternoon at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building in Santa Rosa where Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch is holding a pasta feed to raise money for her re-election.
Protesters have been demanding that Ravitch charge sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus with murder for Lopez’s shooting, which occurred on Oct. 22 on Moorland Avenue in unincorporated Sonoma County southwest of Santa Rosa. Gelhaus, 48, a 24-year veteran officer, shot Lopez seven times as he walked on the sidewalk with a toy Airsoft BB pellet rifle. Gelhaus told investigators he ordered Lopez to drop what he believed was an AK-47 assault rifle. Santa Rosa police are investigating the shooting, and Ravitch’s office will review their investigation to determine if Gelhaus is criminally liable for the death. Lopez’s family has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Gelhaus and Sonoma County.