‘You’re a Tijuanian.’ Central Coast woman’s racist rant sparks protest after video goes viral

A Santa Barbara woman’s racist comments caught on video sparked a late-night protest on Sunday, and thrust Santa Barbara into a viral national spotlight.

A large crowd gathered at the Santa Barbara Police Department headquarters, 215 E. Figueroa St. in Santa Barbara, to call out the woman, Jeanne Umana, after earlier in the day she hurled a racist insult and made other derogatory comments to a construction worker, identified as Luis Cervantes by the Los Angeles Times.

“I live here. I am an American. You’re a Tijuanian,” Umana said sternly to Cervantes.

In the video, Cervantes tells her that she is trespassing on private property, and Umana responds with, “I work for the police.”

The video shows Umana on someone else’s property without permission.

On the video she says, “I have a right to find out who my neighbors are because I live here, you don’t.”

He tells her “You don’t have permission to be on private property,” and she turns around and smugly says, “Oh, arrest me.”

Seconds later she tells him, “I am very much against people who break our laws,” before attempting to smack the man’s phone out of his hand.

The video was shared by civil rights activist Edin Alex Enamorado, a popular social media personality and advocate for street vendors based out of Los Angeles, with more than 257,000 followers on Instagram.

Crowd gathers in Santa Barbara to protest racist rant

Late Sunday night, the crowd gathered outside Umana’s home and in front of the police station to protest.

On a video, a voice yells, “Jeanne Umana,” and the crowd responds “move out!”

The Police Department issued a statement on Monday, with Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale calling the video “disturbing” and “troubling.”

“In the video, a woman stated, ‘I work for the police.’ The woman has no affiliation with the Santa Barbara Police Department and the Police Department does not condone her behavior,” Ragsdale said in the statement.

The group walked from the corner of Garden and East Micheltorena streets down to the police headquarters, and then back to the area of Garden and East Micheltorena.

At one point, City Councilman Oscar Gutierrez showed up to address the crowd, responding to questions about the viral video and why Santa Barbara is cracking down on street vendors.

“The video posted on social media understandably stirred emotions and reactions within our community,” Ragsdale said. “The Santa Barbara Police Department monitored the gathering and supports the right for all individuals to peacefully assemble in order to voice their concerns.”

Several videos about the incident have been posted on various social media platforms, including Instagram and TikTok.

Civil rights activist confronts woman caught on video

Earlier in the evening, prior to the rally, Enamorado found Umana walking toward the police station.

When he approaches her in an encounter caught on video, she mistakenly identifies him as a construction worker. She threatens to go to his place of work on Monday and report him.

“You work for a construction company,” she says.

“I don’t work for a construction company,” Enamorado responds.

At one point he says, “You’re assuming I am a construction worker? That shows how racist you are.”

Umana later says, “Years ago I was the most popular professor at UCSB.”

Enamorado tells her, “Let me educate you since you are a professor. This is our land. Your ancestors came from Europe. So how about you go back to Europe?”

He then says, “The indigenous worker you assaulted, he’s from this country.”

Central Coast woman: Comments were ‘irrational, imprudent’

In an interview with Noozhawk late Monday night, Umana 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 site manager.

In response to a question about why she referred to the American man as a “Tijuanian,” Umana said: “It was an irrational, imprudent response.”

She said she has received about 300 voicemails and calls, at all hours of the day and night, from people all over the country, since the video went viral.

She told Noozhawk she taught law & society at UC Santa Barbara, but stopped in 2004.

“I am being characterized as a racist because of one moment out of an entire life,” she said.

Still, Umana said she takes responsibility.

“I am responsible here,” Umana said. “I am not going to run away. I am not going to hide. I am going to address it hopefully with some character.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com .