Arrest near ‘Back the Blue’ rally in Redwood City draws controversy

in Community/Crime

The forcible arrest of a woman near a “Back the Blue” rally in Redwood City on Friday for allegedly impeding traffic by walking in the street and resisting arrest has sparked controversy in the community over whether the detainment and subsequent search of her belongings were justified. 

Jesilyn Faust, 30, was arrested on charges of obstructing, delaying or resisting a peace officer in connection with the encounter that was partially captured via cellphone video (see footage at bottom of this post). A subsequent search of Faust’s backpack uncovered a handheld metal chipping hammer and two cans of spray paint, police said. 

The incident unfolded about a block from where about 50 people were holding a rally to denounce the “defund police” movement, a national call for police reform that ignited following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. The movement has local implications, with Redwood City currently in the midst of a heated community dialogue over calls for significant police reform. 

Redwood City police said they sent officers to monitor Friday’s pro-police rally after learning from social media posts and other Bay Area law enforcement agencies that individuals had planned to attend to cause disruption. 

Faust was detained about a block from the rally, which ultimately remained peaceful. 

According to police, she was walking on the street impeding traffic when an officer approached her about the traffic violation. At the time, Faust “was not carrying a sign or actively engaged in constitutionally protected activity” as she approached the rally, police said. 

In a scene caught on video, Faust and a group of other individuals confronted police about the stop. At one point, the video shows an officer forcing Faust to the ground to handcuff her. 

In a statement, police said the officer became forceful with Faust because she began to walk away from officers when she was not free to leave and was uncooperative. Police added that a group of individuals who argued with officers over Faust’s arrest, as shown in the video, “remained free to move about the area” and were not inhibited from participating in the rally or counter protest. 

The arrest, video and police statement have drawn mixed reactions in the community, with hundreds of comments posted in response in the Facebook group Redwood City Says What. 

“Everyone was jaywalking, that’s not a reason to get arrested,” Karina Prieto Macias posted in the group. 

Added Christine Rennee-Love Rutledge, “THIS is why we want them defunded. They just do not know how to behave properly, imo.” 

Others expressed support for police, with Sabine Hohmann Sahyoun stating, “Thank you, RCPD, for stopping these obvious agitators!!!” 

Police said they are continuing to investigate the incident, adding that “any additional updates will be provided at the appropriate time.” 

The conversation about the matter, however, is likely to resume. On Monday, Oct. 5, the City Council of Redwood City is set to hold a study session to continue the community dialogue on police reform. 

Detective Junsun Lee

Posted by Cortez De Redwood ENe on Saturday, September 26, 2020



  1. This was not a jay walker. Rwc jas been a peaceful place. Please dont defund. We have wonderful police officiers who were doing their job. Wonder what the intended use of the hammer and spray paint was for?

  2. Interesting that Ms. Faust is also the registered secretary of HERO Tent, a 501-C-3 California charitible non-profit so taxpayers are footing her activist activities, clearly a violation of non-profit regulations prohibiting political activities. Gee, hope nobody informs the Attorney General’s office to resolve. #sarcasm

  3. Bunch of out-of-town people come to RWC to make trouble, see if they can mix it up with the local police. This is a small town. I’ve lived here 30 years. The cops are all right.

  4. The Hammer was for busting out windows, and the spray paint was for spray defacing property costing the owners hundreds maybe thousands of dollars in repairs & repainting , soda blasting etc.

  5. We are living in a police state if we are arrested before committing a crime and use jay walking to justify profiling and arrests. There were 70+ people blocking all of broadway with a sign that were not harassed. The city needs a plan for protester and counter protester to have a safe way to co exist and express their mutually protected free speech

  6. This group of people acted in a menacing fashion in their attempts to intimidate the peaceful presence of people supporting our local police. This was not a political rally. This group was organized and had a plan. They were wearing what looked like bullet-proof vests, hoods and masks and the person arrested carried a welding tool that could easily be used to cause damage and injury. She isn’t a welder. She’s a university lecturer causing trouble. The police were professional at all times and did an excellent job keeping things under control. The flyer which they published to invite others to join in their violent attacks is clear. It says in part: “Cover Up. Protect your Comrades. Make trouble. Solidarity means attack.” They are blatantly lying when they say they were doing nothing wrong. They were stopped by good police work. This was a well-planned attack which was foiled. There was a busload of reinforcements on the way. If they had been allowed to reach the location, there would definitely have been violence. These people are outsiders and are not local and they need to understand that their tactics are unwelcome in our city. Good job to our Redwood City Police Department.

  7. No Presidential signs, only American flags and Back the Blue flag, the speakers lined up were diverse. 3 languages spoken in the speeches. The retired policeman gave a moving talk with great ideas for unity. It was heartbreaking to watch police get verbally harrased for two hours in what was a beautiful ceremony. Senseless. God Bless them.

  8. Redwood City Police is clearly out of control. Why you ask? Well, even their own officers are pointing out that there is systematic racism in the ranks (see link below).

    Did the City Council say or do anything to address these allegations? NO… they stayed quiet and failed to address them. That’s why this is happening.. that is why people are showing up.

    I think it’s time we consider having the Sheriff’s Office take it over…

  9. I support the RWC police. Thank you for making us all feel safe. They are not perfect, but I’d rather be surrounded by a crowd of our wonderful RWC police officers than a mob of domestic terrorists with hammers and spray paint.

  10. I am impressed. Officers were highly profession and calm – especially given the disrespectful name calling and harassment from the folks who think because they are filming they should be able to do anything. Officers deserve to be treated with respect for the work they do. +1 for job well done here officers. we appreciate what you do.

  11. RWC is a great place to live because we have LAW & ORDER. People come here to escape the CHAOS of SF. This protester came to RWC to cause chaos and was carrying weapons and cans of spray paint. Thank God that RWC PD stopped it!! EXCELLENT WORK!

  12. That arrest looks TOTALLY unlawful. RWC would not arrest me a white woman for crossing the street in a crosswalk. These comments about “my small town” and “RWC police are good” is just unexamined racism at work folx. You don’t know what she was going to do with spray paint and a hammer, and you know what…an unlawful act has to be committed before you can prosecute someone (but I am no lawyer). Folks, this is still a country where we are operating under the assumption of innocence before guilt, but we know it never was really that way for our BIPOC brothers and sisters. I called the non-emergency line, they say it was emergency dispatch. I will be following this case and shouting it out on all my social media accounts. Not on our watch!

  13. Those poor officers. I don’t understand why or how people think it’s ok to say and do those things to officers. They have an amazing amount of patience.

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