Photo: Amy Atkisson
June 2, 2020 – Ventura County – As the nation struggles with the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, things have become even more troubling with the recent public outrage over issues of overzealous policing and its impact upon America’s minority population.
Over the past week, that outrage has been expressed in the form of massive protest demonstrations that have all but shut down cities across the country. Thousand Oaks, historically a quiet suburban enclave apart from the sturm und drang of the inner city, is apparently no longer immune to the impact of social upheaval.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Capt. Denise Silva, local area citizens were engaged in a public protest late in the afternoon of May 31st.
Expressing their feelings about the recent news coming out of Minneapolis regarding the death of George Floyd, demonstrators were exercising their First Amendment rights in a march down a heavily-traveled boulevard when 46-year-old Thousand Oaks resident Amy Atkisson drove by in her car.
Hours later, Thousand Oaks Police Department Investigators “became aware of a video posted to Twitter” depicting a vehicle registered to Atkisson driving past protestors as its driver “pepper sprayed” an individual.
With the license plate of the vehicle recorded on the video, it didn’t take long for the cops to identify Atkisson. That same evening, “numerous witnesses” to the event came forward to confirm the assault. At that point, detectives made contact with Atkisson at her home and took her into custody.
Atkisson was transported to Ventura County Jail, where she was booked on a charge of Unlawful Use of Tear Gas and released “as mandated” by the California Judicial Council’s zero bail schedule.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking