Anti-vaccine group targets California’s medical director
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The president of California’s medical board, which issues medical licenses and disciplines doctors, says a group of anti-vaccine activists stalked her at home and followed her to her office — where four men confronted her in a dark parking garage in what she described as a terrifying experience.
Kristina Lawson, a former mayor of Walnut Creek who was appointed to the board by former Gov. Jerry Brown, said in social media on Wednesday she grew concerned Monday after she noticed the people in a white SUV parked near her home and saw someone flying a drone over her house.
“They watched my daughter drive herself to school and watched me walk out of my house, get in my car, and take my two kids to school,” she wrote in a Tweet.
The white SUV then followed her to work and parked “head-to-head” with her car in a parking garage, she said. Lawson said that when she left the office building and entered the parking garage later that evening, four men jumped out of the SUV with cameras and recording equipment and confronted her.
Lawson contacted Walnut Creek Police, who later told her the men told officers they wanted to interview her.
“Instead, they ambushed me in a dark parking garage when they suspected I would be alone,” she wrote on social media.
She said the people identified themselves as representing America’s Frontline Doctors and had not contacted the state medical board or her workplace to request to speak with her.
Led by Simone Gold, a Beverly Hills doctor who was arrested during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, America’s Frontline Doctors criticizes the COVID-19 vaccine and has been widely discredited for spreading disinformation about the coronavirus and unproven treatments.
“I was concerned when I saw someone flying a drone over my house and saw a mysterious white truck parked outside my home. Later that day, my concern turned to terror,” she said in a statement.
Lawson added: “I arrived in the dark parking garage behind my office and experienced four men unexpectedly rush towards me, jumping out of the same white truck that had been parked outside my house. I then realized that these four men had been surreptitiously stalking me.”
Lawson said she decided to go public with what happened to her “to shed light on these reprehensible, unacceptable tactics of intimidation”
“But like other Californians who believe in both science and fair play, I will not be intimidated,” she added.
Walnut Creek Police spokeswoman Lt. Holley Connors said in a statement that a man claiming to be “a state detective from Georgia” called a police dispatcher on Monday and said that he was conducting “surveillance” in San Miguel, an unincorporated area near Walnut Creek.
The dispatcher asked the man, whose name was not made public, if he had a weapon, and the man responded that his gun was locked in a case, Connors said. The dispatcher told the man that he should contact Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the area he said he was in.
The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office did not return email and phone messages seeking comment.
Connors said the same man called the Walnut Creek Police Department again later in the day to let them know he was in a parking lot in Walnut Creek with at least one other person.
“The Police Department determine that the man who called earlier in the day claiming to be a detective from Georgia was likely involved,” in the incident with Lawson, Connors wrote, adding that police have no evidence of a crime but that investigators are still gathering information.
Bill Prasifka, Medical Board of California’s executive director, said he supports Lawson in condemning any attempts to intimidate her or any other member of the board and staff.
Board members and staff have been “advised to remain vigilant to their surroundings and provided security reminders,” Prasifka said in a statement.