Man who spit on protesters at OC DA event says he was targeted by homophobic slurs, assaulted

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Thursday, May 6, 2021
Clash outside fundraiser for OCDA caught on camera
Cellphone video shows a man spitting on protesters outside a fundraiser for Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, but the man's boyfriend says he was targeted by homophobic slurs and assaulted with pepper spray.

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- Cellphone video outside a fundraiser for Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer last week shows the moment a man spits on a protester - leading to a physical clash in Costa Mesa.

"It hit me and so I confronted him very quickly like why would you do that? And he then walked away," says Huntington Beach resident Kassandra Gonzalez.

The protesters were there to shine light on Tatiana Turner, who they feel was wrongfully charged last summer for plowing her car into Trump supporters in Yorba Linda.

RELATED: Yorba Linda protest organizer charged with driving into counterprotesters

A woman who helped organize a protest in Yorba Linda has been accused of deliberately driving into a crowd of counterprotesters, seriously injuring two people.

When the man expressed his personal opinion, Kassandra Gonzalez says they tried to get him to leave.

"I decided I'm gonna drown him out some more, hopefully he gets tired of just hearing the sound in his ear and he'll leave, you know," said Gonzalez.

In the video, you hear her tell him he looks like a woman beater, which is when he spit in her face and she says he kicked her, leaving her with bruises.

"Me and my group respond in self defense just trying to get him held down until the police can come settle this," she said.

But the boyfriend of the man tells a different story - saying they were victims of homophobic slurs as they left the fundraiser.

In a statement he wrote "We were holding hands and I kissed him as we walked to my car. At one point one of the protestors put their hands on my partner and continued to taunt us as we walked away. As a gay couple, this anti-gay treatment was frightening and something we have never experienced in our community. I encourage you to request the full video. Only part of it has been made public. You will see the homophobic actions that we endured as we were simply minding our own business. My boyfriend is an immigrant to his country of Jewish Israeli descent. Since this incident he has been the target of racist and ignorant comments on social media. As a result of all of this, protesters pepper sprayed my boyfriend and cut his face so badly that he was taken to the hospital. The doctor says there will be permanent scars. I was left with a bloody nose.

Spitzer's campaign points to social media fliers urging protesters to apply pressure and ruin his party saying "Agitators showed up with the explicit intent to use mob tactics to cause a problem and harass attendees. These individuals want to turn Orange County into Los Angeles or San Francisco, and DA Spitzer is standing in their way. It is our understanding they even used anti-gay slurs to attack certain attendees as they left - specifically because of their sexual orientation - which is completely despicable and evil. DA Spitzer is a strong supporter of the LGBT community and has and will continue to aggressively prosecute hate crimes."

Kassandra says all they wanted was to get the conversation started for Turner. She also says no one used homophobic slurs and that they never intended to have any violence.

"When you look at that video again, as much as you want to assume that it is an attack by a group, it is just self defense, making sure that a woman no longer gets hit by this man," she said.

Costa Mesa police interviewed all parties involved. Detectives are still in the investigation stage and are expected to eventually pass the case on to the state Attorney General's office, rather than the DA's office to avoid a potential conflict of interest.