San Diego

1 Arrested for Punching Police Officer After Hundreds of Students Protested in Downtown San Diego

An 18-year-old protester was arrested and will face a felony charge of obstructing officers.

A San Diego teenager was arrested and charged with a felony after punching a police officer during Wednesday's walk-out protests, San Diego Police (SDPD) said. 

Hundreds of students from high schools and a college walked out of class to protest President-elect Donald J. Trump, marching and stopping traffic 

"As additional officers arrived on scene and began dispersing the crowd, one of our officers was punched in the face by an 18 year old male who was part of the protest group," SDPD spokesperson Lt. Scott Wahl said in a written statement.

The teenager was identified by police Thursday as Carlos Gonzalez, 18, a student of Garfield High School. A spokesperson for San Diego Unified School District told NBC 7 Gonzalez is a former student at the school.

He faces a felony charge of obstructing officers, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

He was released on $20,000 bail and will be arraigned December 1, the DA's office said.

Wahl said the "vast majority" of the protesters were peaceful.

A group of more than 300 students from San Diego High School gathered at 40th Street and Imperial Avenue and headed downtown on Broadway, passing by C Street and 6th Street. 

They stopped in front of the federal building to protest.

"We're trying to wake up our generation and let them know we have a voice. By being united, they can't divide us," said Sharline Ruvalcaba, a student from San Diego State University (SDSU).

"I want people to realize there is still sexism, there is still racism going on and we have to make change," San Diego City College student Gabriela Media said. "Because if we do this to the youth, they are the furture. Nothing will change."

A second group, from Lincoln High School, carried two Mexican flags as they headed down Broadway to meet the first group and unite in a larger march.

One counter-protester said the march would make no difference and was upset with the group carrying the Mexican flags.

"Look, if you look across the street, there's no American flags over there. We're the only American flag. If they want to be under Mexican flags so much, it's 20 miles south. Go have a great time," said Luke Celeste. 

Police officers on motorcycles and squad cars accompanied the group. 

At one point, a juvenile was being detained for disobeying a lawful order of a traffic officer. Some in the crowd began chanting "let him go," said Wahl. 

A juvenile initially wanted for obstructing traffic was cited and released at the scene, Wahl said. 

In a statement, San Diego Unified School District officials said the students would be marked absent, not truant. 

"San Diego Unified supports the rights of all students to speak out. Starting last week, we have been working with schools to create safe environments for students to express their feelings about the election. Both high schools involved in the walkout today have worked hard to create these opportunities for students to express themselves. All students who missed class today will be marked as absent for the period of time they were not in class. We strongly believe all students belong in school each and every day, and we hope all students will return to class tomorrow," the statement read, in part.

When NBC 7 asked for more information, a district spokesperson said, "The students will receive an unexcused absence for the period or periods they were gone. The unexcused absence can be changed to an absence through makeup time, which will be offered outside of the school day (either after school or on Saturday)."

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