Video shows woman in angry rampage against taco-stand workers in Watts

Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Woman punches, pepper sprays taco-stand workers in Watts
A woman who in the past left without paying for her food at a Watts taco stand was seen angrily attacking workers when they insisted she pay.

WATTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A customer who allegedly refused to pay for her food at a taco stand in Watts went on a vicious rampage and attacked a worker - and it was all caught on video.

It happened around 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Tacos Ortiz stand on Grandee Avenue and E 103rd Street.

According to the police report, the suspect refused to pay for her food. Workers said that's when they started recording.

You can see the suspect grabbing a female worker from across the table and pulling her toward her. She held on to the worker with one hand and used the other hand to punch her at least five times.

The woman also threw a water bottle, then grabbed their sign and tossed it at them. She then simply took off.

Before workers began recording, they said the woman pepper-sprayed them.

"I was in shock, you could say," said Joana Vasquez, the worker who was repeatedly punched. "I didn't know what to do, to defend myself or not, because one, she was hitting me and I said if, 'I defend myself, I will get hurt more,'"

The taco stand owner said this was the fifth time the woman has taken off after placing an order and refusing to pay.

This time, workers asked her to pay.

"She sprayed the pepper spray on us," said Vasquez. "The only thing I wanted to do was to cry and yell. I don't know because I was in so much pain."

Ash Wahi, the CEO of a staffing and transportation firm called Simplified Companies, said the woman in the video was employed at the company.

Wahi and his team showed up to the taco stand after they saw the video of the brutal attack to show their support for the street vendors.

Wahi said they do not condone any sort of violence.

"My first reaction was anger. Why? Why would somebody have to do something like this when somebody is just trying to feed their family," he said. "We found out about her actions 6:30 this morning and she was terminated at 8:30."

Wahi said not only did they terminate the woman, they also hired Tacos Ortiz for a catering event at the company.

Meanwhile, workers said they plan to press charges against the woman, who hasn't been identified.

Police said no arrests have been made.