Here's a good plot for a really bad Telenovela.
A Spanish man was freed from jail this week after a jury decided he was not guilty of battery after a dramatic argument with his girlfriend over a San Francisco drag queen.
Francisco Arnaiz Martin, 38, had arrived to the United States in September to spend time with his long-distance girlfriend -- a 33-year-old-San Francisco woman -- whom he had met earlier that year when she studied abroad in Madrid.
The romantic vacation went south when the couple went drinking at a Folsom Street nightclub.
Arnaiz Martin testified that he became upset and walked out of the bar when a
drag queen kissed his
girlfriend after the couple danced with her.
His girlfriend followed him outside and the two started arguing; Arnaiz Martin repeatedly told his girlfriend that he wanted to be by himself. However, she kept pulling at his shirt and arms and blocking his path with her arms, according to the Public Defender's Office.
"Mr. Arnaiz Martin moved his girlfriend's arms away from him. Because she was intoxicated and in high heels, she fell onto the sidewalk and scraped her knees," Deputy Public Defender JP Visaya said.
An angry mob gathered around the couple; people punched Arnaiz Martin
and doused him with pepper spray. Police arrived and sent the couple
home together after medics treated them both for their injuries.
Back at the girlfriend's house, the argument continued, and police were called at approximately 4 a.m. They told Arnaiz Martin to leave for the night.
At 8 a.m., Arnaiz Martin went back to the apartment to get his clothes,
passport, and travel documents; however, nobody answered the door. After
knocking repeatedly and going outside to call up to the window, Arnaiz
Martin kicked down the front door. His girlfriend was inside the
apartment and so the two started arguing yet again, Visaya said.
The cops arrived to break up the argument, and this time Arnaiz Martin was arrested and charged with battery after allegedly pushing his girlfriend down
outside the nightclub. He was also charged with vandalizing her front door.
At the three-day trial, a nightclub security guard called by the prosecution testified that he never saw Arnaiz Martin push his girlfriend. In fact, the guard said he had called police for Arnaiz Martin's protection after he saw drunken patrons attacking him on the sidewalk.
Arnaiz Martin also took the stand, testifying that he was simply trying to move his girlfriend from his path so he could leave.
"The jury found Mr. Arnaiz Martin credible," Visaya said. "The prosecution didn't bring a single witness that could testify they saw Mr. Arnaiz Martin push his girlfriend."
The vandalism charge was dismissed mid-trial after the woman's landlord agreed to a civil compromise and Arnaiz Martin's relatives arranged with the Spanish Consulate and Public Defender's Office to wire the money for the door.
Jurors deliberated less than 30 minutes Tuesday afternoon before
finding Arnaiz Martin not guilty.
"Mr. Arnaiz Martin's public defender rightly argued that a conviction cannot be based on the reaction of a drunken mob," said Public Defender Jeff Adachi. "Fortunately, the jurors came to the right decision and Mr. Arnaiz Martin can finally go home and put this nightmare behind him."