Nicholas Weber, the man accused of hurling racial slurs and attacking a Filipino American family at a McDonald’s drive-thru in North Hollywood in May, has pleaded not guilty to battery charges.
Weber, 31, is facing one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of battery with hate crime enhancements for attacking the Roque family at the drive-thru on May 13. The Sylmar man, who is currently in custody at the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail, pleaded not guilty to all his charges in court on Monday.
Following the plea, Judge John H. Reed of the Los Angeles Superior Court granted the Roque family’s request for a protective order, covering a five-block perimeter around their home in case Weber posts his $150,000 bail.
Weber’s public defender representative reportedly opposed the protection order. Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Paul Kim countered this opposition and pointed out Weber’s sobriety issues and his pending hearings for three probation violations of unrelated criminal cases.
Reed served the order to Weber, who was standing behind locked doors and was not visible to others in the courtroom on Monday.
“The legal team expected the judge might release him or significantly lower the bail,” Nerissa Roque told reporters, adding that she and her daughter, Patricia, were pleased by the decision.
“Community pressure helps in continuing seeking justice,” Nerissa added. “But it continues to be an open case and we invite more community members, more Filipino organizations, more Asian and multi-racial organizations to continue to stand with us.”
The incident involving the Roque family occurred on May 13 when Weber allegedly rear-ended Nerissa and Patricia’s car while at a McDonald’s drive-thru on Victory Boulevard. The man then hurled racial slurs at the mother and daughter and threatened he would kill them in a mock Asian accent, according to reports.
What started as a verbal altercation soon turned physical after Nerissa’s husband Gabriel arrived at the scene after being called by their daughter. Weber allegedly punched the man and choked Nerissa when she tried to stop him.
An arrest warrant was issued after Weber failed to appear in court on June 8. Days after the warrant was issued, many activists protested outside the Van Nuys District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, chanting “Justice for the Roque Family” as they urged the authorities to investigate and prosecute him.
Weber was arrested in Orange County on June 16 after the Costa Mesa Police Department received a call about a man “possibly passed out on the sidewalk.” While in police custody, Weber reportedly refused to attend his arraignment for the third time in late June.
Members of several advocacy groups, including the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, Anakbayan Los Angeles and Migrante Los Angeles, went to the courthouse on Monday to show support to the Roque family.
“The hurt inflicted upon the Roque family also hurt us. The pain that hurt the Roque family also hurt us,” the message from Migrante-Los Angeles read by a representative said.
Featured Image via ABS-CBN News