A Santa Barbara woman caught on camera harassing a Latino contractor as a “Tijuanese” and threatening a taco street vendor has been charged with assault and trespassing.
Jeanne Umana, 74, sparked outrage last month after she was filmed harassing Luis Cervantes at a construction site for the first time.
Cervantes had asked the former University of California-Santa Barbara lecturer to leave the private area, prompting an outburst in which she told him: “I live here.” I’m an American, you’re a Tijuan. Her behavior sparked a major protest in the community.
Another video recently surfaced showing her stalking another Latino man and calling him an “illegal crook.” On both occasions, Umana claimed to be with the local police, which they categorically denied.
Now the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office has confirmed it is filing charges over the incidents, but is not prosecuting hate crime cases despite public outrage.
Jeanne Umana is charged with trespassing and assault after she was filmed harassing two different Latino men in heated arguments
The 74-year-old lashed out at construction worker Luis Cervantes after he pointed out that the site was private property and she had to leave
Santa Barbara Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian told the LA Times: “Based on the evidence we have at this time, we filed the charges that we believed we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of 12.”
Prosecutors began considering the charges after Umana’s first tirade against Cervantes went viral on Sept. 16.
In the clip, she is seen walking around the construction site before Cervantes tells her she can’t be there because it’s private property.
Umana says bluntly, “I work for the police, so that’s fine.” “You work here, you’re not based out here, is that right?”
Cervantes reminds her again that she is on private property and she begins to walk away before turning around and replying, “That’s fine, I already reported you.” “I have the right to find out who my neighbors are .”
Cervantes again says that she doesn’t have permission and that he can call the police, to which Umana sarcastically replies, “Oh, arrest me.”
As she turns to leave, she turns back and says, “I live here.” “I’m an American, you’re a Tijuan.”
Cervantes then calls her a “racist”. She turns around again and angrily says, “I’m totally against people breaking the law,” before lunging toward the camera.
The former University of California, Santa Barbara lecturer was then filmed insulting a Latino street vendor, calling him a “crook” and an “illegal.”
Cervanted told News Channel 3-12 that Umana insulted him and threatened to call immigration officials.
He explained that he tried to remain polite. He said, “I said good morning, have a wonderful day, closed my window and got to work.”
Umana – who worked as a part-time lecturer at UC-Santa Barbara 20 years ago – later told the L.A. Times that she went to the construction site to report a vehicle driving too fast and parking illegally.
“I’m truly sorry that this got out of hand and I regret making such statements because I said them in the heat of the moment,” she told the Times.
“They weren’t measured, and whatever I feel, I don’t have the right to take it out on others. But unfortunately, I lost control.”
However, a second incident has emerged that appears to have taken place before the confrontation with Cervantes.
In this video, she can be heard insulting a street vendor named Antonio and threatening to report him to the police.
She tells him, “You’re illegal, you’re selling food that’s making people sick.” The city is now arresting people who do that, they don’t want you here. They want you out.’
On both occasions, Umana pretended to work for the police and threatened to report the men to the authorities. Police have since denied that she had any connection to the police.
She then falsely claims that she works for the police PR team. She says she reported him and tells him, “Because you’re a crook, you’re an illegal crook.”
She continues to rant: “I thought you knew English, but you don’t speak English, you’re a liar. ‘Put your stuff on the truck.’
Santa Barbara police have since confirmed that Umana is not associated with police and said they “do not condone her behavior.”
A police release confirmed Umana was charged with assault and trespassing. The case is scheduled to be heard in Santa Barbara Superior Court on November 30.
Councilman Oscar Gutierrez called Umana’s behavior “criminal.” He told the LA Times: “The audacity with which she felt like she could represent people at that level and then go out and attack people of color is just beyond obscene.”
He also expressed disappointment that prosecutors did not pursue the hate crime charges.
Activist Alex Enamorado, who led community protests in response to Umana’s first video, agreed. He said, “It feels like this.” [the D.A.] gave us nothing.’
Enamorado led hundreds of protesters who blocked an intersection before marching to the police station.