The arrest of a Santa Barbara Community College Student on Aug. 19 on the 6600 block of Sabado Tarde Road is being called into question by witnesses, who recorded the situation and posted about it on social media. The video can be viewed below:
The 19-year-old student, Lawrence Omolo, was arrested for allegedly carrying a concealed dirk or dagger, resisting arrest, carrying an open container in public and possession by a minor. He declined to give his address to officers.
He is currently being held on a $20,000 bail.
Omolo took a class this past summer at Santa Barbara Community College (SBCC) and is currently registered for the fall semester, according to SBCC representative Amanda Jacobs.
In a statement from Santa Barbara County Sheriff Office (SBSO) spokesperson Kelly Hoover, Hoover said deputies first came across Omolo at approximately 11:45 p.m. with an open container. According to Hoover, Omolo was “uncooperative” and “fled on foot.”
When authorities apprehended him on the 6600 block of Sabado Tarde, they found him to be “in possession of a 9-inch hatchet.”
When asked for body camera footage, Hoover said that SBSO does not release body camera footage of an incident for an incident that is currently under investigation, in accordance with Government Code 6254(f).
Michael Kile, a sixth-year UC Santa Barbara student, said he and his friends were walking on the 66 block of Sabado Tarde when they came across what appeared to be a “cop following a civilian,” Kile said.
Kile and his friends then began following the officer and Omolo. Kile then began to record the situation.
“I saw a white cop following a Black man and the body language showed that the victim was just wanting to get away and that the cop was annoyed and angry,” Kile said.
Kile stated that the original officer proceeded to follow Omolo for a short while before a second officer attempted to put handcuffs on him while pushing Omolo against a car.
In the four and a half minute video recorded by Kile, Omolo can be seen moving his hands away as the officers attempt to cuff him. As officers tell him to stop resisting, Omolo says, “That’s not resisting. Look, all I wanted to do was get my video, then I will sit here and talk to y’all. I’m not doing anything.”
As officers continue to try to put handcuffs on Omolo, one says, “He’s got an axe in his front right pocket.”
Another officer then tells Kile and his companions to back away from the scene. Omolo shouts to them, “No, I want them to video this. Video this!”
Kile and his friends can be heard documenting the number of officers and police vehicles on the scene, which totalled nine and three respectively, according to their count.
When one of Kile’s friends ask why there are nine officers on the scene to arrest one man, the officer responds, “Because the person that ran from us has an axe in his front waistband.”
This article will be updated.