Arroyo Grande city councilman arrested after allegedly assaulting woman


Arroyo Grande City Councilman Ed Arnold was arrested early Wednesday morning on suspicion of attacking a 28-year-old female city employee the night before.

The woman — who was not identified by police or city officials — reported the incident about 10:25 p.m. Tuesday, and police responded to a residence in the 800 block of Turquoise Drive. “When the officers arrived at the residence, they discovered that the victim, a 28-year-old white female resident of Arroyo Grande, had sustained lacerations, abrasions and contusions to her head,” police Chief Steven N. Annibali said.

The woman was treated at “a local hospital” and released, according to police. Officials would not identify the hospital.

Annibali said that Arnold had a “personal relationship” with the victim, who lived with Arnold and his wife, but he didn’t reveal any further details, citing a pending investigation.

Arnold, 44, allegedly fled from the home before police arrived. Officers found his vehicle in the area of Oak Park Boulevard and Noyes Road around 11:40 p.m. after determining he was a suspect.

He was booked in County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence and burglary.

Arnold posted $50,000 bail and was released from jail Wednesday. The police obtained emergency protective orders for “several individuals,” including the victim.

“We’re shocked,” said Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara, who was part of a news conference at City Hall. “This is devastating news.”

Ferrara said he spoke with Arnold on Wednesday to “get a feel” for the situation and find out whether Arnold would continue to serve on the council he has been part of since 2004. The mayor said Arnold has been a hard-working councilman who prepares for meetings. Ferrara said it’s Arnold’s decision whether he’ll continue on the council as the incident continues to be investigated.

Arnold was re-elected in 2008. His current term ends in 2012. He did not return a call to his home Wednesday for comment, and a cell phone number for him was disconnected.

Arnold is the owner of investment research company Pismo Research LLC. He served for two years as a planning commissioner before becoming a councilman.

People at the home on Turquoise Drive on Wednesday declined to speak about the alleged altercation.

Annibali said Arnold didn’t receive any medical treatment.

City Manager Steve Adams said that Arnold was not involved in the decision to hire the woman Arnold allegedly assaulted.

Adams declined to say which department she works for and how long she has been a city employee.

As an elected city official, Arnold has sought to develop low-cost senior housing and preserve farmland and the character of the Village.

In 2007, Arnold joined the mayor and other council members in deciding to purchase a 2.5-acre property at Courtland Street and East Grand Avenue to build affordable rental housing for families of low or moderate incomes.

Tribune staff writer Julia Hickey contributed to this report.