A UC Santa Barbara student whose forceful detainment in the Arbor went viral two weeks ago will be going to court during Spring Break to face charges of resisting arrest.
The Santa Barbara County District Attorney filed the case of Erin Morgan, a fourth-year zoology major, with the Santa Barbara Superior Court on Monday, setting her court date for the morning of Mar. 27.
UCPD officers arrested Morgan on Feb. 27 after she allegedly attempted to flee from receiving a citation for illegally skateboarding through the Arbor. The video of Morgan’s detainment, which went viral on Facebook in the days following the arrest, shows two UCPD officers in the Arbor taking Morgan down to her knees and then down to the ground on her stomach.
According to UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Rob Romero, the two UCPD officers instructed Morgan to stop skateboarding and to wait as they handed her a citation. Romero said she waited “for maybe close to half a minute” before grabbing her skateboard and riding in the opposite direction from which she originally came.
He said the officers yelled at her to stop, but she continued to go. According to Romero, an officer then ran after her, grabbed the back of her backpack and took her to the ground.
According to Romero, the officer tried to get her to place her hands behind her back, but instead she tried to stand up. He said when the second officer came to assist, they each grabbed one of her arms because she was trying to get up and then they “forcibly” took her to the ground.
“Taking somebody to ground — if you ever played any type of sport or if you wrestled or anything like that — when you use force, it’s not pretty,” he said the day after the incident. “It’s not something we wish we have to use on people we arrest.”
In an interview with the Nexus on Feb. 28, Morgan confirmed she tried to ride away from receiving her citation, but she said she did not expect the officers would use force to detain her.
“My biggest concern is just how quickly it came to that,” she said. “I didn’t think that just me skateboarding away would result in me getting thrown to the ground.”
Morgan also said she was booked in the county jail on the night of her arrest, and after paying a $2,500 bail, she returned home early the next day.
She told the Nexus on Tuesday that she does not intend to challenge the charges of resisting arrest, but said she does intend to speak to a civil attorney about the forcible detainment.
“I walked away from him and that’s against the law. So I’m not going to try to fight that,” she said Tuesday. “He violated my civil rights. You can’t just throw someone to the ground for rolling away from a police officer.”
According to court records, authorities have charged Morgan for violating California Penal Code 148(a)(1). The law holds that a person who “willfully resists, delays or obstructs” a police officer shall receive a fine no greater than $1,000, a county jail sentence no longer than a year or both the fine and imprisonment.