Five people were arrested Friday in Murrieta after a skirmish with police. Photo courtesy of KTLA
Five people were arrested Friday in Murrieta after a skirmish with police. Photo courtesy of KTLA

Four people remained jailed Saturday for allegedly trying to prevent Murrieta police from arresting a person near the Fourth of July immigration standoff at the Murrieta Border Patrol Station.

Five people were initially arrested for “lynching,” a rarely-invoked California Penal Code section defined as “the taking by means of a riot of any person in the lawful custody of any police officer.”

The arrests were made at 3:40 p.m. Friday as the suspects and others waited for a trio of buses carrying detainees that never arrived in Murrieta, Lt. Jon Flavin told City News Service Saturday.

Police said a protester jumped on the back of a Murrieta police officer who was trying to arrest someone linked to a reported assault, some distance away from the main protest at the Border Patrol station.

Janet Mathieson, 22, of Claremont was being questioned by police about the reported assault, and the officer was going to arrest her for obstructing the officer in the course of his investigation, a police report said Saturday.

According to the police account, that prompted Pouyan Bokaei, 33, of Maryland, to try to free Mathieson from arrest. The officer let go of the woman as he tried to arrest Bokaei, according to the police account.

Mathieson then reportedly jumped on the officer’s back, police said.

More police arrived, and while Mathieson and Bokaei were being arrested, three others jumped into the fray to free the first two, police said. They were identified as Jacqueline Sanchez, 26, of Los Angeles, Jessica Rey, 25, of Menifee, and Salvador Chavez, 24, of Los Angeles.

All but Bokaei remained jailed Saturday in lieu of $10,000 bail each, accused by police of violating the old California lynching statute. Bokaei’s legal status was not clear.

Earlier in the day, Larry Spencer, 54, of Hemet, was peacefully arrested for allegedly disobeying an officer, a misdemeanor. He was cited and released.

Saturday, up to 10 people showed up at the protest site. It was not immediately known whether the buses would be scheduled to arrive on Monday as federal officials did not alert local police, Murrieta’s Flavin said.

The Murrieta Border Patrol station became ground zero in an emotional debate over what one side calls “illegal aliens” and the other called women and children deserving of human compassion.

The arrested people were among a throng of more than 100 demonstrators who spent Independence Day either supporting the 140 undocumented detainees who crossed over Texas, or trying to block the buses from entering the federal processing facility on Madison Avenue.

Federal officials announced earlier in the week that the immigrants who were detained during their flight into Texas would be arriving Friday on buses every 72 hours. A virulent protest Tuesday blocked the buses from getting through to the Border Patrol processing center in Murrieta.

The buses carrying the detainees on Friday were apparently diverted to other Border Patrol centers, in San Ysidro or El Centro, for processing, according to the Los Angeles Times.

— City News Service