A San Francisco jury acquitted a man who’d been angered by a drag queen kissing his girlfriend of misdemeanor battery this week.
Francisco Arnaiz Martin, 38, of Spain, was charged after a September 28 incident in which he and his girlfriend, identified by authorities only as a 33-year-old San Francisco resident, had been drinking at the Cat Club, 1190 Folsom Street.
Arnaiz Martin testified he became upset when a drag queen with whom the couple had been dancing kissed his girlfriend, a news release from the public defender’s office says. He walked outside, and his girlfriend followed him. The two started arguing, and Arnaiz Martin told her repeatedly he wanted to be alone.
The girlfriend pulled at his shirt and arms and blocked his path with her arms to try to stop him from leaving, and he moved her arms away, according to the public defender’s office.
“Because she was intoxicated and in high heels, she fell onto the sidewalk and scraped her knees,” Deputy Public Defender JP Visaya stated in the release.
An angry mob gathered around the couple. At least one person punched Arnaiz Martin and sprayed him with pepper spray. Medics arrived and treated Arnaiz Martin and his girlfriend, and police sent them home together.
Once they got to the woman’s house, they started arguing again, and police were called at about 4 a.m. Officers told Arnaiz Martin to leave for the night.
When he returned at 8 a.m. to get his clothes, passport, and travel documents, Arnaiz Martin knocked repeatedly on the apartment door and called up to the window, but no one responded.
Finally, he kicked down the front door, according to the public defender’s office. The girlfriend was inside her apartment, and she and Arnaiz Martin began fighting once more. This time, police responded and arrested him.
A club security guard who’d been called by the prosecution testified that he hadn’t seen Arnaiz Martin push his girlfriend, the public defender’s office release says. The release also says prosecutors didn’t bring any witnesses that could testify they saw him push her.
Jurors deliberated less than 30 minutes Tuesday, November 13 before finding Arnaiz Martin, who had no criminal history, not guilty. He had faced up to a year in county jail if convicted.
“Mr. Arnaiz Martin’s public defender rightly argued that a conviction cannot be based on the reaction of a drunken mob,” Public Defender Jeff Adachi stated.
Arnaiz Martin had also been charged with vandalism, but that count was dismissed during the three-day trial after his relatives arranged to pay for the door he’d kicked down.
The couple met in March while she was studying in Madrid, and Arnaiz Martin arrived in the United States in mid-September. He spent almost seven weeks in jail after his arrest.
Arnaiz Martin, who the public defender’s office indicated was heading back to Spain, couldn’t be reached for comment.