Judge reduces charges against members of the Foxy 6
A Superior Court judge Tuesday reduced some felony charges against members of the so-called Foxy 6 to misdemeanors in connection with a Nov. 14 protest that turned into a confrontation with police outside the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, where former Mexican President Vicente Fox was speaking.
After two days of preliminary hearing testimony from three Pasadena police officers who were on the scene that night, Judge Teri Schwartz determined there was enough evidence to send the case to trial.
The four men are: Christopher Wohlers, 25, who is accused of one count of resisting an officer and one count of battery on an officer with injury; Benjamin Torres, 29, who is accused of one count of resisting an officer and one count of battery on an officer; Ulises Hernandez, 23, who is accused of one count of resisting an officer and one count of battery on an officer with injury; and Alejandro Torres, 23, who is accused of two counts of resisting an officer and two counts of battery on an officer with injury.
The four defendants were originally among six defendants — all part of the protest against Fox staged by members of Occupy-San Fernando, hence the self-dubbed moniker. One of the two other members of the group is Dara Glanzer, 23, who was first accused of resisting arrest and unlawfully being in a permitted area. The other member, Amari Shakur, 37, had originally been charged with two counts of resisting arrest, one count of inciting a riot and unlawfully being in a permitted area.
However, those charges were filed as misdemeanors, and the two were prosecuted by the Pasadena City Prosecutors Office. On July 22, Assistant City Prosecutor Joon Kim agreed to drop the charges if the two pleaded guilty to jaywalking, an infraction.
If convicted, Benjamin Torres, Hernandez and Wohlers would have faced nearly four years in prison, and Alejandro Torres would have faced up to five years behind bars had Schwartz not reduced battery charges against them to misdemeanors.
The three officers who testified were Sgt. Bobby Crees and officers Carlo Montiglio and James Lopez.
“I was struck in the left side of the head and face by [defendant Ulises] Hernandez,” Crees testified. “I turned and saw him as soon as it occurred.” However, Crees later said that he did not see Hernandez throw the punches. Crees also said he suffered a back injury in the incident but did not seek medical attention.
“The fact that Sgt. Crees didn’t [see a doctor] is less important than the fact that he should have,” Assistant District Attorney Elaine Ramsey said about Crees’ injury.
“I commend Judge Schwartz for reducing two of the four charges to misdemeanors today,” said defense attorney Tarek Shawky. “Given that three of the four defendants have no prior criminal convictions, I’m disappointed that the DA chose to file felony charges that could have lasting repercussions on their lives.”
Shawky expressed optimism about their upcoming trial. A pretrial hearing is set for Aug. 21.
“We look forward to taking this case before a jury, and we are confident that after seeing all of the evidence, the jury will acquit all of the defendants at trial,” he said.