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Instagram influencer accused of throwing pig's blood on Chauvin witness' former Santa Rosa home

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Built in the Bay
Built in the Bay
 22 days ago

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(SANTA ROSA, Calif.) A Bay Area wine influencer, yes, that's a real thing, was one of three suspects arrested for an incident in which someone threw pig's blood on a home owned by Barry Brodd, a former Santa Rosa police officer who recently testified in the Derek Chauvin trial.

The bizzare story, which started with reporting by KPIX, indicated that 35-year-old Instagram wine influencer Amber Lucas was being held on felony vandalism and conspiracy charges along with two others.

Santa Rosa police reportedly responded to the house on April 17, the day the alleged incident took place, around 3 a.m. to reports of vandalism. The same three were also charged with vandalizing a large statue in Santa Rosa Plaza.

In early May, The San Francisco Chronicle published a story detailing the nature of Instagram wine influencers in the Bay Area. A portion of the Chronicle article follows Lucas who takes a technical approach to her Instagram strategy.

In September of 2020, Lucas published an article with KQED about the failure of the wine industry to support the Black Lives Matter movement. In that piece Lucas brings up the distinct political nature of wine and its cultivation in the Golden State.

"It was political when Napa County established its urban growth boundary in 1983. It was political when environmentalists raised issues of water usage and runoff into watersheds. Do not allow misleading rhetoric to trick you into thinking that the wine industry, with all of its lobbying power, is not political. It is," Lucas wrote.

The KPIX article detailing the April 17 arrest came out roughly a week after the Chronicle article featuring Lucas.

On May 20, Lucas published a statement to her blog account detailing the nature of the arrest alleging that her and the two other activists were falsely accused. In the post she highlighted that all three of the women are being represented by different defense attornerys, with herself being represented by Sonoma County lawyers Omar Figueroa and Lauren Mendelsohn.

One of the attorneys representing the suspects claimed this was the work of "an agent provocateur."

Lucas offered a more personal denial of the accusations on her Instagram as well.

"As a community leader, what I am enduring are the very actions that I stand and speak against, and actively denounce: the targeting of women of color, the abuse of power from law enforcement, and the attempt to silence voices of advocacy and truth," Lucas said. "I am aware that I am on trial in two courts — including the one of public opinion. I understand this is an attempt to silence, and discredit me within my community, and nationwide."

This past Saturday, 60 people reportedly rallied for the defendants in front of the Santa Rosa Police Station and a GoFundMe has been started.

Lucas' attorneys' defense hinges largely on her work getting a police oversight measure passed last November, which they argued led to her being targeted.

The Guardian reported of such surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists in March of this year. In that instance police used social media accounts to keep tabs on activists in Milwaukee and around the country. Similarily, VICE has reported that widespread surveillance tactics were continually used by police last summer during the George Floyd protests.

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