The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office has filed two misdemeanor charges against the Santa Barbara woman whose racist comments to a construction worker went viral and sparked protests last month.
Jeanne Terese Umana, 74, is accused of battery on Luis Cervantes and unauthorized entry of a dwelling for entering the house under construction without permission on Sept. 16.
She is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Nov. 30, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Battery is defined in this case as “willfully and unlawfully using force or violence” on a person.
In a cellphone video that went viral on social media, Umana is on her neighbor’s property and, when asked to leave by Cervantes, the person taking the video, she makes racist and derogatory comments at him.
“I live here, I am an American, you’re a Tijuanian,” Umana says.
When Cervantes tells her she doesn’t have permission to be on private property, she replies, “Oh, arrest me.”
Then she tells him, “I am very much against people who break our laws,” and she tries to hit the phone out of his hand, according to the video.
She also claims to work for the police, but the Santa Barbara Police Department later said in a statement that she has no affiliation with them and they do not condone her behavior.
Spokesman Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale called the video “disturbing” and “troubling.”
Police referred the case to the district attorney to consider criminal charges of trespassing, battery on a person, and hate crime.
The video of the interaction went viral after being shared by civil rights activist and street vendor advocate Edin Alex Enamorado of Los Angeles.
Two days after the video was taken, a large crowd gathered at the SBPD station and later near Umana’s house, in the area of Garden and Micheltorena streets, to protest her comments and call for her to “move out.”
When asked why she referred to the American man as a “Tijuanian,” Umana said: “It was irrational, imprudent response.”
Within a few days of the video going viral, she said she had received more than 300 voicemails and calls from people all over the country.
“I am being characterized as a racist because of one moment out of an entire life,” she said at the time.
Another video of Umana was shared on social media this week, apparently taken by a Santa Barbara street vendor near Alameda Park. The Kids World playground is clearly visible in the background.
It’s unclear when the video was taken, but in it, Umana tells the vendor they’re “selling food that’s going to make people sick” and to leave.
“You’re an illegal crook,” she says in the video.
“I work for the police department, I do public relations,” she says.