Articles Tagged with assault

According to reports, Adrian Vergara, 26, pleaded guilty to assaulting a 16-year-old Syrian refugee while using charged racial slurs during the attack. The incident took place on October 15th on board a San Diego trolley at approximately 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. The Syrian refugee was said to be on his way home from school and while he was talking on his phone in Arabic. Vergara pulled an earbud out of the victim’s ear and said, “What trash are you speaking?” The victim told him that he was speaking in the Arabic language and then Vergara verbally attacked him with Islamophobic slurs. He then physically assaulted the 16-year-old, violently striking him up to six times. After the attack, Vergara exited the trolley on 62nd Street in Encanto.

The police confirmed that the victim endured minor facial injuries as a result of the attack. San Diego Police Department Lt. Shawn Takeuchi indicated that through using video footage detectives were able to obtain visual information on Vergara’s appearance. About a week later, the Port of San Diego harbor police arrested Vergara for a misdemeanor narcotics violation. When the authorities had Vergara in custody, he was recognized as the individual who was connected to the San Diego Police Department’s investigation into the hate crime on the young Syrian refugee.

Vergara was charged with and pleaded guilty to assault and a hate crime for which he was sentenced to five years in state prison. Nine days before the assault took place on the trolley in San Diego, there was another hate crime arrest in Little Italy. A man, identified as Kyle Allen, 50, was shoving Muslim women who were wearing hijabs. He was also yelling at them to “go back to (their) country.” Allen is currently facing charges of battery as well as hate crimes. 

What is Assault and Battery in California?

Assault and battery charges are commonly referred to as in conjunction with each other but they are not treated the same under the law in California. They are actually two different classifications under the state’s law. California assault law, Penal Code 240 PC, defines assault and battery.

  • Assault is when there is an attempted act of using violence or force against another
  • Battery is defined as the actual action where force or violence is used against another 

Under California law, when a person attacks another and it is classified as a simple battery, it is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2 thousand alone or in combination with a maximum of six months in county jail.

However, the penalties are much higher when a battery inflicts significant injuries and it then becomes known as “aggravated battery.” A person convicted of an aggravated battery may either be facing a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. Misdemeanors come with a maximum sentence in the county jail of up to one year while felonies can come with a four-year prison sentence. Continue reading

A former Taco Bell executive by the name of Benjamin Golden who was fired after a video of him went viral assaulting an Uber driver, has now filed a lawsuit for $5 million against the transportation company. This bizarre case was a response to the $25,000 lawsuit filed by the Uber driver, Edward Caban, who is shown in a dashcam video being slapped and hit by Golden, last year.

Last October, Mr. Golden allegedly got into an Uber driven by Mr. Caban, in Costa Mesa, California. He was ordered out of Caban’s vehicle for being too inebriated to give directions.  The dashcam video from Caban’s car shows Mr. Golden getting angry, and then beginning to strike Caban from the back seat and slamming his head against a window. Mr. Caban used pepper spray to fend Mr. Golden off, and subsequently posted the footage online.  It later went viral, and Mr. Golden was terminated by Taco Bell.

Golden has been charged with assault and battery by the Orange County District Attorney.  Golden has pleaded not guilty, and decided to file a counter-suit, claiming that he “fear[ed] for his safety and well-being” after being ejected from the vehicle and has “suffered severe emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety, fear, pain and suffering and the loss of his job.” Mr. Golden claims that Mr. Caban did not have a right to record him, and he is claiming “invasion of privacy, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery.”

Earlier this month, the news reported Salinas Councilman Jose Castaneda’s new slew of legal problems, and this time they go beyond whether or not he is legally holding two elected offices.  Salinas police announced that Castaneda was arrested and charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, and felony domestic violence. According to reports, Castaneda was waiting for his ex-girlfriend when she arrived at her home on Friday night. He allegedly forced the woman into a van, drove away to another location, and held her hostage for several hours. During that time, police believe he assaulted her, leaving her with the bruises that led to the felony charge of domestic violence. Castaneda allegedly eventually released the woman and allowed her to walk home.

Castaneda and his attorney, Anthony Prince, eventually contacted police and said he would turn himself in to police. They asked police if it could wait until after a press conference Castaneda had scheduled for Thursday morning. Police took him into custody at the press conference. If convicted of the felony charges, California law would disallow Castaneda from holding any state office, and he would also face the legal ramifications associated with those charges. His bail is currently set for $100,000.

California False Imprisonment Law

The recent arrest of retired UFC fighter Chris Leben in San Diego in connection with an incident between the fighter and his estranged wife serves as a cautionary tale of the seriousness of domestic violence charges in California.

Mr. Leben was arrested on multiple charges, including the violation of a restraining order.  Though Mr. Leben’s recent arrest was not based on charges of assault or domestic violence, the restraining order obtained by his wife makes reference to physical violence. However, Mr. Leben has strongly denied any and all charges of domestic violence and claims that, in fact, he has been the victim of years of domestic violence at the hands of his wife. In a recent interview, Mr. Leben highlighted how charges of domestic violence pose a significant threat to his character and his livelihood.

Domestic Violence in California