At approximately 5:00 P.M. on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, a group of protesters held a planned rally at Plaza Park in downtown Oxnard.
A crowd estimated at approximately 350 marched to the Oxnard Police Department’s headquarters building, and through Oxnard’s downtown and surrounding area. This group was peaceful. The group took over all lanes of Oxnard Boulevard and marched to Five Points. After pausing at Five Points, the crowd returned to Plaza Park about two hours later, and many of the attendees dispersed.
A smaller group of approximately 100 – 150 demonstrators began another march, blocking traffic on the Third Street bridge, and then back to the police station. While at the police station, officers watched a male subject vandalize the police station with spray paint. He was identified and arrested later in the evening.
The march continued to Plaza Park. At this point, several vehicles drove onto the park’s grass. The vehicles drove recklessly on the park lawn, endangering several pedestrians.
Police officers responded to address the safety concerns. One of the reckless drivers sped away, colliding with another vehicle and fleeing. At the time of this news release, the vehicle has been identified and impounded, as Oxnard investigators work toward locating the hit-and-run driver that fled.
During the police response, persons in the crowd threw rocks and bottles at officers as they were making an arrest. No officers were injured, but police vehicles sustained damage, including a broken window.
Plaza Park’s lawn was torn up by the vehicles. The Oxnard Pagoda, a Ventura County historical landmark, was vandalized with spray paint. Several other instances of spray paint vandalism were found throughout the downtown area, on both public property and small businesses.
Police Chief Scott Whitney said, “The Oxnard Police Department’s intent is to allow demonstrators to peacefully exercise their right to free speech and assembly. We’re here to protect those rights. Our intent was not to have any confrontations with the demonstrators. Unfortunately, there was a small number of them that wanted to cause problems. We are grateful for the many community members, from many various backgrounds, that stepped forward to make sure the problems were minimized.”
Investigators are reviewing evidence for additional arrests of those persons who engaged in criminal activity. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Oxnard Police Department at (805) 385-7600, or online via the Oxnard Police Department’s website: www.oxnardpd.org, and clicking on Report Suspicious Activity. Any witness can also remain anonymous by calling the Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477, or visiting www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org to submit a tip via text or email.