[UPDATE 12:42 p.m.] Oyster Fest Arrest Goes Viral; Racial Bias Alleged
The comments on the posts show a community divided. And, as so often happens in a small community, the altercation also has a personal side as Jackson’s son who graduated Eureka High a year before Luna later called her to defend his mother.
Alonso Luna, who legally has a double last name, told us she prefers to go by the single last name of Luna. She told us she had been attending Oyster Fest with several friends when she found a 17-year-old friend intoxicated. Worried about the girl, she said she persuaded her to go with them.
“A sober friend picked us up,” she explained. They got into Luna’s friend’s vehicle.According to scanner traffic, at approximately 8:25 p.m., officers pulled over the vehicle at 9th and F Street in Arcata. Luna, a former honor student at Eureka High, said it was because the intoxicated minor had put her head out the sunroof.
“I told her, ‘Whoa, you can not stick your head out,'” Luna said. “At about that moment, the lights [from the officers’ vehicle] came on.”
Luna’s friend, the driver, pulled over.
Sgt. Jackson, who received the Humboldt State University Police 2017 Community Policing Award for “the connections [she] established with the campus community”, and another officer walked up the vehicle.
Luna said, “[Sgt. Jackson] asked everyone for their names.” Then, she said Jackson asked the minor her birthdate. “[The minor] doesn’t really want to say her real birthdate and kinda stumbles,” Luna explained. Then, according to Luna, Sgt. Jackson tells the minor she will go to jail if she isn’t truthful. Eventually, the minor is taken from the car and arrested.
Luna said she wanted to find out what she needed to do to help the minor. In the video below which had over 435,000 views as of 10:15 a.m., the frustrated Luna can be seen questioning an increasingly exasperated Jackson about what will happen to the minor. According to Luna, then Jackson focused on her and asked her name.
Luna’s legal double last name coupled with her identification of herself using only the last name of Luna caused confusion.
The following testy exchange was videotaped by an occupant of the back seat and later posted along with a series of other videos about Luna’s arrest on her Facebook page about 2:24 p.m. Sunday. The videos are used here with Luna’s permission.
In the following video, Luna and Jackson grow progressively more upset with each other.
“That’s when everything went kind of crazy,” Luna said.
Jackson told Luna to get out of the car.
Luna argued saying that she was not going to get out of the car.
Jackson reached in and captured Luna’s arm.
“She told me she was going to take me to jail,” Luna said. “I don’t know why we would need to go to jail. My instincts just kicked in. I got defensive.”
Sgt. Jackson pulls Luna out of the car and the two begin struggling. Another officer comes to Jackson’s aid. The video below shows the incident.
Three more videos of the struggle exist (3) here (an officer warns that he will pepper spray Luna as she holds a handful of Jackson’s hair), also (4) here (Jackson tells another officer to cut her hair in order to free it from Luna’s grip ), and (5) here (an officer tries to get Luna to calm down).
Luna was eventually taken to jail and booked. The University Police have not responded to our request for comment.
By Sunday afternoon, Luna was out of jail and had gathered the videos of her arrest. She posted them on her Facebook page. Not long afterward, Collin Jackson, a former athlete at Eureka High and son of Sgt. Janelle Jackson contacted Samantha Luna.
“I didn’t know that was Collin and Greg’s mom,” Luna said. She explained because they had been classmates, she had Collin’s number. When he called, she said she was just surprised to hear from him. It wasn’t until in the middle of the call she realized that his mother was the one that had arrested her.
She said he told her to delete that video or she was going to regret it. After she hung up, he sent her a message. “you fucked with the wrong famil[y],” it said.
Later, he messaged her again, she read it to us over the phone, “I’m sorry it just made me mad at the moment because that was my mom,” he wrote. “I’m sorry I’m not trying to threaten you. For real I’m sorry that happened.”
Though in Video 3 during the arrest struggle, Luna claimed racism, she explained Collin Jackson is of African American descent and some people have told her that therefore his mother couldn’t be racist. She isn’t sure about that, she said. Couldn’t Sgt. Jackson be racist against Hispanics? she asked.
She said she doesn’t know why Jackson focused on her. The male driver, she stated, was white. “They never asked him for his ID or his age,” Luna noted. “They let him off with a seatbelt ticket.”
Luna is facing far worse consequences because of her struggle. “I have four charges,” she explained. “One is resisting arrest.” She says she also faces charges for public intoxication, giving false information, and battery.
“I didn’t mean any harm,” she said. “I am not a threat…I won most successful student…I got an invitation for Stanford and Berkeley… I’m a good student.” We weren’t able to substantiate that before post time, but, we were able to substantiate in 2015, she received the California Seal of Biliteracy Award for achieving “a high level of proficiency” in three languages–German, Spanish, and English.
Someday she dreams of going to Stanford and studying law. “I just don’t think I could ever afford that,” she admits. For now, she said, She is going to the College of the Redwoods for her associate’s degree in Administration of Justice program.
Luna is still struggling to deal with the events of the weekend. “An attorney messaged me and told me she would take my case pro bono,” she said. “I’m waiting to hear back to set up an interview.”
She told us she is stunned at the amount of attention the videos have gotten. “I always wanted to go viral,” she said wistfully. “But not for something like this. I had hoped it would be for something more positive.”