Woman arrested after video showed driver pepper-spraying protesters in Thousand Oaks

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A 46-year-old Thousand Oaks woman was arrested after video surfaced online that investigators determined showed her pepper-spraying young protesters, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.

Protesters were holding up signs and chanting “black lives matter” on the sidewalk near an intersection in Thousand Oaks when a driver rolled down her window and began quickly pepper-spraying the group about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, video showed.

The protesters all appeared to be teenagers and were demonstrating peacefully.

Amy Atkisson is seen in an undated booking photo provided by the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.
Amy Atkisson is seen in an undated booking photo provided by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

One of the girls appeared to have been sprayed in the eyes and was left lying on the ground as others tried to give her aid.

The person filming the incident captured the license plate on the woman’s Lexus, and investigators were able to track down the owner of the vehicle, arresting Thousand Oaks resident Amy Atkisson on suspicion of unlawful use of tear gas, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The released listed a 16-year-old girl as the victim.

“Numerous witnesses who were either at the scene when the incident occurred or saw the video on social media came forward with information,” the department said.

Atkisson was booked and later released on zero bail. The Judicial Council of California had approved a temporary emergency measure that sets bail to zero in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

She is set to appear in court on July 31, officials said.

Those who witnessed the incident were encouraged to contact Detective JD Eisenhard at 805-494-8224.

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