A Mimosa-imbibing man was declared innocent of battery charges today after a jury saw a video that proved the man hadn't attacked a Castro Street merchant after downing one too many cocktails earlier this year.
According to the Public Defender's Office, 23-year-old Antonio Herico had been at a bottomless Mimosa brunch at a restaurant in the Castro where he consumed too many champagne drinks too quickly. Afterward, the City College student was walking with a friend past the Industrialists furnishing store at Market and Sanchez when he began puking -- appropriately enough -- underneath the store's sign that read:
"TAKE A DUMP HERE YOU WILL LIVE BUT LIVE TO REGRET IT."
The store owner, 53-year-old Anthony Limitiaco, caught sight of this retchfest and ran out of the store, shouting profanities at the Herico and his friend, 23-year-old Pio Alexander Garcia. Herico continued to vomit up his brunch and those cocktails, while Garcia and Limitiaco started arguing; Garcia rudely made anti-gay slurs at the merchant.
Surveillance video presented at the trial, which lasted three days, showed Limitiaco go back into the store, grab a metal pole and come out swinging at the men as they walked away. Herico was hit on the side of the head, causing a lemon-sized hematoma, according to the Public Defender's Office.
Garcia and Limitiaco started punching each other, shattering glass and other valuable items as they fought inside the store. Surveillance footage showed Herico trying to stop the fight, as he yelled, "Enough! Stop!" Herico finally pushed over a display case, hoping to get the the fighting men to stop. When that didn't work, he tried two times to physically separate the pair.
The cops finally arrived and arrested both Herico and Garcia on suspicion of assault and battery, malicious mischief, vandalism, and a hate crime. The hate crime and malicious mischief charges against Herico were later thrown out.
During the trial, jurors heard the recording of Limitiaco falsely telling a 911 dispatcher that the men were armed with a gun, according to the Public Defender's Office. However, Limitiaco's own surveillance footage told a much different story of what happened that morning.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi noted that this is a good example of how things aren't always how they appear. "The surveillance video proved that Mr. Herico did not assault the shopkeeper. To the contrary, Mr. Herico was trying to be a peacemaker," Adachi said. "The jury was able to see the truth with their own eyes, and acquitted Mr. Herico of all charges."
Attorneys claim this was Herico's first time drinking Mimosas, and, despite the post-brunch drama, we're betting it won't be his last.