Woman arrested days after violent assault caught on video at Watts taco stand, LAPD says

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Thursday, August 10, 2023
Woman arrested in assault caught on video at Watts taco stand
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly assaulted an employee at a Watts taco stand in an incident that was captured on video.

WATTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A woman has been arrested after she allegedly assaulted workers at a Watts taco stand in an incident that was captured on video, authorities said Thursday.

Officers responded shortly after 6:40 p.m. Sunday to a report of an assault near the intersection of Grandee Avenue and 103rd Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

A preliminary investigation revealed to detectives that a female suspect punched and pepper-sprayed the employees after she was asked to pay for the food that she had consumed, police said.

"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's owner said that several times in the past, the woman had departed after placing an order and refusing 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."

On Wednesday, authorities identified 36-year-old Renee Latrice Hines as a person of interest, and asked for the public's help in finding her.

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.

On Thursday, police announced that Hines had been taken into custody. The Bakersfield resident was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, and her bail was set at $30,000.

According to police, one of the workers began recording Hines after the assault as she walked to her car. Police said Hines got upset and allegedly grabbed the taco stand sign and threw it in the worker's direction before fleeing in a vehicle.

Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to the scene and treated Vasquez for her injuries.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Detective Channing Lang of the LAPD at (213) 972-7888 or Detective Kelly Sullivan at (213) 972-7886.

City News Service contributed to this report.