Criminal Charges Recommended for Woman in Racist Viral Video

Screenshot of Jeanne Umana in the viral video (courtesy)

By the edhat staff

A viral video capturing a confrontation between a white woman and a Latino construction worker ignited a protest in Santa Barbara this week. The incident, which quickly spread on social media, drew hundreds of demonstrators to the corner of Garden and Micheltorena, shedding light on racial tensions within the predominantly white city.

Now three days after the protest, the Santa Barbara Police Department is referring the case to the County District Attorney and recommending a series of charges.

The video, filmed by construction worker Luis Cervantes on Saturday morning, shows Jeanne Umana arguing with him on private property at a construction site. Umana makes derogatory remarks, including calling Cervantes a “Tijuanan” and stating she is an American. The situation escalates further when Umana appears to slap or grab Cervantes’ phone.

The video also shows Umana stating she works for the police department after she was caught on camera walking into a private home under construction.

In response to the viral video, numerous individuals of all ages joined a protest in Umana’s downtown neighborhood. The demonstration, led by activist Edin Alex Enamorado, gained momentum as chants demanded Umana’s accountability. The protesters marched towards the downtown police station, where tensions remained high.

The next day, Santa Barbara Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale confirmed they were investigating the incident. Ragsdale emphasized that the police did not condone Umana’s behavior, she did not work for the department, and acknowledged the emotions stirred within the community. The department expressed support for peaceful assembly and the right of individuals to voice their concerns.

On Wednesday, Ragsdale issued an update on the case stating detectives had been investigating the incident over the last several days.

“As a result of the investigation, Detectives referred the case to the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office for their consideration of the following criminal charges against Jeanne Terese Umana; Trespassing, Battery on a Person, and Hate Crime,” said Ragsdale.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Monday, Umana apologized for her inappropriate remarks and claimed she had lost control of her emotions. She said the incident began when she noticed a construction truck speeding down her residential street and parked illegally in the middle of the road. She said she approached the property where Cervantes worked to report the incident to a manager — not realizing it was an active construction site.

“And then when someone put the camera in my face, I think that’s when I lost my judgment. My judgment went very, very badly,” Umana said. “I am truly sorry that this got out of hand, and I regret making statements like that, because I said them in the heat of the moment. They were not measured, and whatever I might feel, I don’t have the right to take it out on anybody else. But unfortunately, I lost control.”

Protestors voiced that Santa Barbara, with a population that is nearly 71% white and 36% Latino, has a history of downplaying instances of racism. They hope that the attention garnered by this incident will bring about meaningful change and ensure that actions like Umana’s are not tolerated.

The District Attorney’s Office is expected to review the case and recommended charges by the police department.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

What do you think?


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    • I don’t have an issue with anyone here, but sometimes it seems comments are a bit disingenuous. For example, when I read, “…..I’ve made my point over and over again. Accept it or don’t, I’m done arguing here,” I would think the commenter was done commenting and not make additional comments, especially comments requesting additional “arguements.” Amazing, actually. I realize “commenting” is different from “arguing,” but in this context it’s one in the same….to me that is. Bottom line is that I do not feel that you need to apologize to me, but maybe to others for making fun of them (mental capacity, education level, etc.)….not helpful in my opinion.

    • You didn’t even give me a chance to answer. My answer is yes. That is a crime and should be punished as well. But that’s not the topic here, so no I won’t write “passionate posts” but you will continue to make excuses for this woman’s racism, won’t you? Yes. I thought so. You’ve really accomplished nothing else here.

  1. Good. Trespassing, impersonating an officer, possibly assault/battery (for sure civil). She should be held accountable for her actions. She won’t spend any time in jail, but hopefully many hours of community service for her to reflect on her awful worldview. Words and actions have consequences, even for racists.

  2. Ms. Umana, I have lots of “emotions,” and “whatever I might feel” is not taken out on strangers with whom I have nothing to do with. Admit that you are very sorry for being caught using your inside voice, outside. Also, John Palminteri has been oddly unified with Ms. Umana on this, which is odd, to say the least.

  3. You guys are still bickering about this? I think it’s pretty fucking amazing that THIS is what everyone is up in arms about concerning racism. The world has come a long way especially the US. That doesn’t mean everything and everyone is perfect or can’t be better, or that people aren’t still racist, but look at the last hundred years and what some people had to endure and think about this. Sooner than later things like this won’t happen either. Now we just need to realize that slavery still exists and we are it’s biggest supporters by how we shop…. Big picture kids.

  4. Claiming to “work with the Police” is too vague to be a crime which is why it is not in the recommended charges.
    Trespassing is another wobbler to me. She was asked to leave and she did fairly quickly. She did interfere with the work being done, but it was an interference of a very short duration. The owner of the property will probably settle for an order that prohibits her from entering the property in the future. Hotels do this all the time. A person in the parking lot walking through, looking in the car windows, arguing with security, verbally abusive with racial slurs. Happens all the time and at best gets a notice of trespass and person will be arrested and charged for returning.
    What the woman said was hateful and wrong, but for it to be a hate crime,it needs to meet the following: California Penal Code §422.6(a) makes it illegal to interfere with another’s rights because that person possesses any actual (or perceived) characteristic protected by the law.
    I think it does meet the criteria technically, but it is a 5 minute episode where the rights of the worker were at best minimally disrupted.
    Battery on a person is also weak. The phone wasn’t damaged, the person wasn’t damaged physically so we are back to being called “Tijuanian” which is a racist and offensive insult but it is clear the woman was there to complain about the construction, not the “Tijuanian” doing the construction. If it went to trial, she’d probably look like even more of an idiot, but I think she’d have a great shot at winning because she’s old, 73? Boiling it down, we are talking about a one word insult, no broken phone, no physical damage, 5 minute work disruption, 73 year old that has already been publicly shamed. Nobody here wants to hear this, but legally this goes next to nowhere.
    Best guess? She agrees not to trespass again, she agrees to stay 100 feet away from the worker, she cannot address the worker, her lawyer drafts an apology and she as a retired old woman gets to go to anger management, non-violent communication training at the Schott Learning center

  5. If you are on a jury finding on a case with a “hate Crime” here are your instructions.
    I don’t think they can prove she went over there because the guy looked Mexican. She went over there because she was upset about the construction and then she escalated it by calling him Tijuanian.
    From the instructions:
    The bias motivation caused the defendant to commit the alleged
    If you find that the defendant had more than one reason to commit the
    1038 alleged acts, the bias described here must have been a substantial
    motivating factor. A substantial factor is more than a trivial or remote
    factor ” The defendant did so in whole or in part because of the other
    person’s actual or perceived (disability[,]/ [or] gender[,]/ [or]
    nationality[,]/ [or] race or ethnicity[,]/ [or] religion[,]/ [or] sexual
    orientation[,]/ [or] association with a person or group having
    (this/one or more of these) actual or perceived characteristic[s]);
    5. The defendant intended to interfere with the other person’s
    legally protected right [or privilege].
    I’m not arguing she’s not an a*****le who used a racial slur, I’m just saying that I don’t see absolute evidence she went over there because the guy looked Mexican. She absolutely called him Tijuanian and stereotyped him as Mexican once she got there ( For her information, there are more and more Guatemaltecos, Nicaraguenses in the construction trades and some get annoyed to varying degrees about being called Mexican. If you use Hispanic, they will correct you and if you say Latinx they have no idea wtf you are saying)

  6. Just saw an interview with the worker and this wasn’t their first interaction that day. She first came up to him to complain about his driving and how he parked and threated to “call ICE” on him. After that, when he saw her come onto the worksite, he got his camera ready. She was determined to be a racist that day, it wasn’t just her “emotions” due to being filmed. She was, is, has always been a racist.

  7. The fact that this one old lady made a super gross comment, isn’t the real point. It’s so gross in fact, its hard to believe anyone would say such a thing in this time and place. Throw her in jail, throw away the key, who cares! I sure don’t. But it sets a precedent. That’s what counts. To be fair then, anyone who makes a comment to someone else that a lot of people don’t like needs to also be prosecuted. So many of us have had people say horrible bigoted things to us, but can we all expect to jail anyone who says something? what if the person doesn’t really know what they are saying, or the words are misunderstood, or the person is mentally ill and just repeating nonsense they heard? Too many variables to open the door to policing every word everyone says. Setting this precedent could backfire in many ways.

    • The penalty for a hate crime can indeed be jail. Walking on a construction site is quite common, people do it all the time with no consequences. A frail elderly person swatting in the direction of someone’s cell phone but not actually landing on the cell phone or the person would not usually be considered a battery or assault. Making ad hominem attacks, instead of simply stating your viewpoint, shows that you don’t think your viewpoint is intelligent enough to stand on its own without having to accompany it with verbal battery and bullying. The lady’s behavior was despicable, but the facts I’ve stated above are still facts, whether her behavior is despicable does not change this. Sorry you have so much trouble comprehending concepts that are not simplistic but more complex.

    • 12:06am – Yes, of course. I’m saying that people are not trying to jail her for JUST what she SAID, but rather what she DID. Her actions, despite what she said, amount to trespass and battery. What she SAID plus what she DID make up the hate crime charge.
      Too many here are trying to equate this to a 1st Amendment issue – “ohhhhh watch out, the liberals want to jail people for saying things they don’t agree with.'” It’s hard for slower folks to understand this, so that’s why I made it so simplistic.

    • 8:53 – OK, I think you missed the point about actions vs words alone. Either way, she certainly didn’t miss the phone, watch the video again. The facts you stated are missing key points – she didn’t just walk on a site, she intruded and went inside a home, then said she worked for the police as a way to justify her intrusion on private property. She then refused to leave. That is all trespassing. When she struck at the phone, hard, she did connect. Touching another with malice like that is battery. Further, her words weren’t just ad hominem, they reflected her hatred towards another race – threatening to call ICE, saying he’s not “American,” etc.
      Sugar coating her actions is no better than excusing them.
      Look folks, racism should not be accepted as just an “opinion” and it should not be excused. Our society has no more room for that way of thinking. Why some of you insist on accepting it, is sad.

    • No one I read here stated that racism is just an opinion, no one is sugar coating her actions, in fact quite the opposite, everyone thinks her behavior was abhorrent. But exaggerating and dramatizing abhorrent behavior actually weakens the case against her as it weakens The credibility of the accuser.
      Y ou seem so obsessed with everyone having to describe things just as you do, and you seem unable to think outside the box and look at things objectively. You don’t know what reflects her hatred or that she has any hatred. Her words were ridiculous and her behavior was reprehensible. That should be enough to satisfy you, without having to add your own drama and say that she harbors hatred etc. You don’t know what she harbors in her mind. All we rationally have to go on is her actions, which none of us condone.

    • 9:59, I don’t think anyone is looking to jail her, certainly not to throw away the key. You’re exaggerating. Those against her actions are looking for consequences for her actions. There are community and legal standards for the actions she is accused of, and reasonable punishments for the same; punishments that don’t require incarceration. Please calm your exaggeration; let’s all see how it plays out. She’s in the dirt as a person due to her national reputation; that is often punishment enough. Especially when people are early or in the midst of their career. She is older and miserable for many reasons.

    • Please excuse my anonymous verbosity today. I lost my dear pet to necessary medical euthanasia and this has been a wonderful distraction. It’ll really hit me when I get into bed alone for the first time in many years.
      I hope I’ve made some reasonable responses and/or input to the discussion; I care about it very much.

  8. The bitter woman will have to live with this forever. Trespassing? If the owners of the property want to press, ok. Battery on a person 100%. Hate Crime? That’s a little farfetched. The hate crime statutes in California are so wide nearly anyone can be accused and prosecuted for a hate crime. It’s rather ridiculous. She is being made into an example if the police recommendation to the DA is moved forward. Unless the woman has a history of similar altercations, but lets not kid ourselves, this old woman is no German national socialist. 1,000 hours of Community Service or 100 hours of Community Service at La Casa De La Raza. A hug and a photo with everyone involved. The End

    • She has been made an example of!
      Sheesh, there were probably hundreds of “Karen” videos in 2020-2021 and beyond, like this one. The internet finds them and shames them and they usually lose their jobs. Legal charges are often brought if appropriate.
      The public part has been done — her name and photo are out there. Let our legal system continue or finish. Her name is dirt forever, the Internet’s got it.
      I’m not defending her, just describing the national experience of the past few years. I followed twitter daily for years and have read dozens and dozens of “Karen” stories. They’re all still there if you search “karen” and she has joined them.

  9. I agree that she should be hit with as much punishment as possible. Even if that’s not much. She and other engrained racist people maybe won’t be deterred by some community service, or even jail time. Heck, that may just make them more angry. And that’s unfortunate, but that said, here’s this – she earned it so why not give it to her, if for no other reason than to make the next crazy Karen white lady decide to think again before getting in someone’s face like this? I’m glad this was documented for lots to see.

  10. I don’t see how any of these charges are going to actually hold up in court. The “assault” charge is a bit laughable, but whatever floats your boat. Nothing will happen to this woman other than being humiliated for losing her cool and saying things that she regrets. Interesting that if one does not think it’s appropriate to completely and wholly crush this woman out of existence, then we too must be the same…..sorry, not even close. We too MUST hate this person…..sorry, not going to happen. I remember being “hated” on a number of occasions because people thought I was from a certain ethnic group, but I never/ever held it against them. Was taught to “forgive them for they know not what they do.” Maybe lighten up on the rhetoric and attacking people who you do NOT know, then let’s move forward. Much like reliving the whole Wendy McCaw saga by dredging it up over and over for years on end…..time to “move on.”

    • Babycakes – perhaps you are uninformed of basic laws. Assault with a hate crime enhancement will definitely hold up in court. She’ll likely get community service and fines since she probably has no previous record. Unfortunate you think it’s ok to physically push or touch others. Your misconceived perceptions propagate this type of behavior.

    • Perhaps each of you have missed the point, but not much can be done about that in my opinion. I live with racism/discrimination nearly every day and that will most likely continue until I take my last breath. One thing I’ve learned is that many/m-a-n-y of those who consider themselves and proclaim to be unbiased, non-racist, and non-bigoted are nothing of the sort. These folks tend to apply these labels to those who they don’t know, so again, not much that I can do about it. Not sure how anyone can come to the conclusion that a commenter here is “conservative” or a “rethuglican” or A-OK with assault or A-OK with terrible things, but…..not much that I can do to change you. As they say, only you can change YOU. BTW, the oh-so-not racist people like the Al Sharpton’s and Reverend Jesse Jackson want to, need to, MUST keep racism alive, otherwise….they is out of business. Good luck with sending this woman away to rot in prison. My guess is that she’ll forced out or have to quit her UCSB job and quietly collect her massive pension(s) somewhere else where she won’t be bothered by those who are filled with joy when a person with whom they disagree is crushed “because that’s what they deserve!” How open-minded of y’all. No one thinks what she did was the right thing to do….

    • GT – it really is telling to see how hard people here will dig in to excuse this woman’s racist attack and then attempt to condemn people like you and I for calling them out. Baby is truly, based solely on the many words she/he has presented us with, a despicable and unkind person. Maybe not in real life, but here, we only have one’s very own words to go by. Yuck.

    • Baby, you continually for years now, have defended the racists and been horrid about homeless issues. You try to mask this in a waterfall of words – which is called a word salad. Often times, if you have an actual point, it is completely lost on the rest of us because of the mal-formed logic and paragraph structure. You literally said nothing would happen to this woman for assaulting another human being with a hate crime enhancement and you will see soon that you are wrong. She may not “rot in prison” but she certainly will have fines, community service, and possibly an ankle bracelet for a short time. Because you get these types of reactions from other readers here – it is not on us – it is because of how you present yourself and how you continually defend the wrong side of history. It’s quite despicable frankly and if this site had a block feature your word-salads would be in my rear view mirror. Since I am forced to read your abhorrent defense of despicable thoughts and acts, I will continue to react to it, as will many others.

    • Sacjon – As you know – Baby has a known history of making these rants, defending the despicable, and then crying foul based on the reaction of others who are reacting to her bigotry. At this point it’s really just pathetic. The long rants again are just sad because I get the impression that something isn’t right upstairs.

    • LOL, GT at 7:27! I am with you, usually agree with you. And with Sacjon.
      BUT — “Since I am forced to read your abhorrent defense …”
      FORCED TO READ?! lol. NO. You are not. As so many here say, just skip it; don’t read it.
      That’s one of many things that allows for freedom of expression.
      I’m guilty myself — agreeing with Sacjon and detesting how he can’t let *anything* go! 🙂 Extending a friendly handshake as I say that.

    • Cakes at 1:26:
      This statement of yours makes me so curious!
      “I live with racism/discrimination nearly every day…”
      This statement of yours makes me wonder if you are Black, or Pakistani or Indian. Or Caribe, or any number of nationalities!
      Seems you live in Santa Barbara or Goleta — We’d all be interested in who is discriminating against you!
      My last name that clearly marks me as a Jew. I have not been discriminated against in Santa Barbara, from grade school eating PB&J on matzo to now. Granted, I’ve lived in this lovely Southern Californian bubble most of my life, by choice.
      Sorry you live with discrimination every day. What do you do about it?

    • Baby, here are a couple of aphorisms that I seem to hear a lot from people on the, uh, right wing of the spectrum:
      Actions have consequences
      Personal responsibility matters
      Laws exist for a reason
      It’s just that simple. If you are filming me legally and I slap the camera and possibly you–I would expect to be hit with an assault charge.
      The assault was captured on camera and it will 100 % HOLD UP IN COURT.
      Let it be a warning–you play stupid games and you win stupid prizes.

    • BABYCAKES – yeah, good thing you’re not an attorney, as your knowledge of the law is laughable. Hey, maybe you’re ready to “move on” from racism, but the rest of the non-white world (and many whites) are not. We’re not pushing it under the rug like your kind and the older generations did. It’s time to stamp it out or call it out. Racism has no place in our society and neither do people who think it does.

  11. while all of you just want to crucify her for being human and making a mistake and speaking in poor judgement, did any of you read her apology? if she apologizes to the man in person, then this should be over and done. i think a lot of you overlook the obvious. we have many generations here. her generation, well things were not as tense and you said what you wanted and felt. sometimes hateful things come out. we would apologize (or not) and learn and move on. Seems that now everyone wants to shame and place more hate in a hateful situation which really isn’t the way to resolve things like this. Community service? that’s over the top. Educate her. Her generation can learn and understand the changes of our current world if they are taught. Now I bet this receives about 50 DV. Why? Whenever reality and facts are present to edhaters, they stick their collective heads in the sand, plug their ears and start blaming everyone around them. lol kinda like the current model of the GOP!

    • Zero, the gentleman who was the target of her hatred said that, although he had no reason to believe that her apology was genuine, he accepted it anyway.
      Beyond that, “All of you want to crucify her”.
      Come on, that’s false and melodramatic and frankly you are contributing to “shaming and placing more hate” yourself by claiming that everyone wants to crucify her, “they” stick their heads in the sand, etc..
      I have people in my family of her generation and that excuse doesn’t fly because I know plenty of people that age who would NEVER try and intimidate and bully someone by claiming they were calling immigration, calling someone out on their ethnicity or nationality, etc.. It just wouldn’t occur to many people of that generation to try and fuck with someone like that.
      So you’re just trying to justify and deflect, she didn’t make a mistake man she got caught expressing her thoughts and feelings.
      NO ONE should threaten, bully, stalk or in any way harass this woman. That doesn’t make it better. But excuse or try and minimize what she did? Fuck that.

    • AL- I didn’t hear the ICE part but assume it’s true. How is that in ANY way a threat? Also several of you are saying that some posts are making excuses for her. What are the excuses you all are talking about? Every single post I have seen has said that she was wrong, not correct…

    • OGSB are you serious? How is “I’m calling ICE” not a threat? Why didn’t she’s just say “I’m calling the police”. We know why. Because she was attacking him based on her bigoted assumptions about his national origin and immigration status. People use the “I’m calling immigration” threat against Latino people all the time.
      But I’m sure, as a local contractor, that you would know that.

  12. News Flash-
    Social Justice activist Alex Enamorado is currently locked up in Riverside along with seven other race hustlers for profit facing charges of conspiracy to commit crime and assault with a deadly weapon but yeah lets not lose our focus on words uttered by old white women

    • I am curious to see what comes of this case against Enamorado. Pretty wild claims by the Riverside Sheriff so it’ll be interesting to what evidence they have:

      With that said, Jean Umana still said racist things, still harassed Latino men, still impersonated a police officer, still trespassed, and still tried to attack a man. This was all caught on camera. Whether the activist is convicted or not, doesn’t mean Umana is vindicated. But based on your comment garfish, and your use of the term “race hustlers,” I can pretty much guarantee a rational discussion will not be had with you.

      • “Shifty”-try assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, felony firearm possession and more. And I will point out what Umana did was SAY things which were indeed offensive but no more than what is being shouted on college campuses and her reputation has been ruined for life.

        • Garfish – “but no more than what is being shouted on college campuses” – what colleges are you thinking of? I’ve not heard of any where Latino workers are being verbally and physically assaulted based on the color of their skin.

          Really ask yourself though, why are you concerned that a repeat racist’s “reputation has been ruined?”

          • What colleges, seriously? How about Harvard, Cornell, NYU or MIT. You know, the ones calling for the extermination of Jews. Remember? Or does non-forgivness only apply if the “victim “ is non-white?
            As for “ruining “ someone’s reputation for saying stupid, racist comments, it depends if they apologize and understand how wrong it is for any contrition to occur. After all, wouldn’t YOU want forgiveness for some of the things YOU have said of others?

            • SBTEJANO –

              “You know, the ones calling for the extermination of Jews.” – No colleges are doing that. Some crappy kids have, but most of the protests are displaying that they are pissed at Israel, not Jews. It’s a critical distinction that most (sadly) are unable to comprehend Not even dignifying that any further.

              “it depends if they apologize and understand….” – She DID apologize and then went and DID IT AGAIN. If racists apologize when they get caught, then it’s all good to you? Sad.

              “wouldn’t YOU want forgiveness for some of the things YOU have said of others?” – I’ve never said anything like what she said MULTIPLE TIMES TO MULTIPLE PEOPLE. And no, I don’t assault workers and yell racist stuff at them.

              Hey, “Tejano,” most people aren’t OK with racists. Sounds like you are though and to each his/her own, but just know it’s a crappy thing to be OK with, even after an “apology” once you get caught.

  13. What a SURPRISE! Can anyone with a straight face say they didn’t see this coming? “Race Hustlers” is exactly what they are. Similar to the BLM shakedown. That’s right, show up to a racially charged event, harass, intimidate, bully , threaten violence to whites, then extort money and scatter like a bunch of roaches.
    Of course the women in question said some stupid and racist things, surprised?
    It’s interesting that white leftist racism is alive and well in SB for all to see. If anything, the ongoing conflict with Israel and Palestine proves it!

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