Articles Posted in Battery

There are different definitions and punishments for assault and aggravated assault. Both of these crimes involve intentional harm inflicted on one person by another. Even when a fight is mutually agreed on, it may still lead to an assault charge.

What is assault?

Assault is when someone intentionally makes another fear that they will be physically harmed. Even though the person may not end up physically injured, the definition recognizes that even just making someone fear that they will be is deserving of punishment. This also allows law enforcement to intervene before physical harm is done.

Recently appointed Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony has been working tirelessly to change what has been charged as an existing culture of unnecessary violence that has recently gripped his department.

The department has been heavily criticized going back to the Parkland shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Tony who was a previously retired Coral Springs police sergeant was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis in January replacing then Sheriff Scott Israel.

With less than two weeks until the American public will cast their votes for our next President, cases of tempers reaching a fever pitch are being reported by the press as well as the police.

This election has already demonstrated acts of extreme passion resulting in violence at Donald Trump rallies where individuals have been detained by security as well as local police and federal agencies.

Late last year a Black Lives Matter protester was tackled, punched and kicked at a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama. But no complaint was made and no charges were filed.

A case that gained National attention due to two controversial issues; the first, Florida’s stand your ground law which has been under recent scrutiny and the other, Florida’s 10-20-Life gun law statute remains in the headlines.

In the recent George Zimmerman acquittal the stand your ground defense wasn’t raised in the actual trial, but it is believed by some that the jury’s concluding decision was founded on the Judge not providing clear instructions before their deliberations began. This theory demonstrates that some members of the jury may have been led to believe that the law did apply, affecting their final decision of not guilty, with the statute in mind.

In the Marissa Alexander case, the statute was invoked, but the results of a jury that took only 12 minutes to decide her fate returned a guilty verdict, which led to the imposition of a twenty-year sentence under Florida’s 10-20-Life gun law.

A plea bargain of three years in prison was offered by the State Attorney’s Office but Alexander was sure that if a jury heard her story, she would undeniably be acquitted. However, after the court case that was decided in May of last year concluded, the outcome did not go her way.

Alexander, 31, stated that she wasn’t trying to hurt anyone when she fired what she and her family have termed a warning shot in the direction of her husband, Rico Gray, 36, and his two young boys during a fight between the two. According to her version of the story she was fighting back against a man who she claimed was habitually violent to her. She claimed that he choked and punched her on numerous occasions over the past year. It was her belief that she was sheltered by Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law when she fired a gun multiple times into the walls and ceiling where her husband stood.

The stand your ground statute sanctions extensive discretion in the use of deadly force as a defense if an individual believes that their life is in jeopardy or if they are facing the possibility of severe bodily harm.

State Attorney Angela Corey said that the case merited prosecution because the gun was fired in the direction of where two children were present and vulnerable.

Alexander was sure her version of the events were solid, but one key factor that transpired four months after she was released on bail convinced the prosecutor and may have swayed the jury not to believe her story.

After her original arrest, she was released on bail with specific instructions not to make contact with Gray whatsoever. However after her release she went to his residence getting into an argument with him which resulted in him sustaining multiple bruises including a black eye.

According to Alexander’s family, the second incident happened a few days before her newborn baby would have been dropped from the couple’s insurance policy. They maintain that Marissa travelled to Gray’s residence solely to ask him to sign forms that would have kept the policy active for the child. Her family inferred that he attacked her upon her arriving at his house that evening. They provided her medical records resulting from the incident to the Huffington Post periodical, which substantiated that she suffered minor bruising and scrapes on her arm, hand and face, as what they believed was evidence of what transpired at the scene of the incident.

Gray called the police after Alexander left his house, once the altercation had concluded.

Gray’s side of the story claimed that Alexander came over to drop off their daughter, and then asked him if she could spend the night there. When he rejected her offer, she “became enraged and began striking him on the face. Gray then raised his hands, and he yelled out to his sons to call the police,” according to the police report. The police officer that responded to the 911 call noted that Gray’s children substantiated their father’s account of the story.

When Alexander was contacted by the police that evening, she said she didn’t understand why she was being called upon and had an “alibi” for the time period in question, according to their report. Upon examination of Gray, the police found swelling on his face as well as a cut under his left eye. There were no visible injuries primarily found on Alexander but on the way back to jail she said she was feeling light-headed and subsequently became unresponsive. At that point one of the officers said that he “observed that there was a small cut under the suspect’s eye that was not there prior to her being placed in my back seat.”

Alexander was rearrested and this time charged with battery. She pleaded no contest to the new charge and has remained in prison since the new charges were added.

During Court Proceedings State attorney Corey stated that Alexander’s actions; interacting with the man she stated that she was deathly afraid of, and striking him, “didn’t show much of her being remorseful” or “being a peaceful person… “Everybody is still ignoring that she got out on bond and chose to go back over there and hit him a second time… That was kind of an indication of where putting her on probation, where you might have been able to do that before, was off the table since she disregarded a judge’s order.”

Alexander was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and awaits appeal for the twenty-year sentence.

Civil rights leaders were quick to point out that the African-American mother of three was prosecuted principally due to her race. U.S. Representative Corrine Brown, said the sentence, was too severe and Alexander should never have been charged in the first place based on the stand your ground statute.

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Donell Allison Jr., 33, of Lauderdale Lakes had a long criminal history including convictions for misdemeanor battery, and battery in a domestic violence case. He previously served nine months behind bars for his misdemeanor battery guilty plea. In that case which occurred in Jan. 2007 he was initially accused of two felony charges, one of them being aggravated battery on a pregnant woman.

Allison is an employee of the City of Boca Raton’s Recreation Services department. Last week, he was again arrested and taken into custody, accused of violently beating a day laborer causing him serious head injuries. He is now being held in the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail and has been placed on unpaid leave since the incident transpired.

But Boca Raton Assistant City Manager Michael Woika maintains that a previous criminal conviction “does not automatically disqualify” an individual from being hired by the city.

Allison apparently took exception to his lunch being handled and moved by another worker, Raul Reynoso, who is over twenty years, his senior. According to Boca Raton Police, Reynoso, 55 sustained a fractured skull, a fractured orbital bone, numerous facial lacerations and a brain hemorrhage. The arrest report also mentioned that Reynoso experienced seizures after the battering occurred.

Police say that Reynoso was routinely working at his job as a landscaper for a contractor in the employ of the city. That day he was working at the Boca Raton Library located at 400 Northwest 2nd Avenue when he was hauled into the altercation with Allison, 33.

Witnesses told police that Reynoso climbed into a city work truck after it began to rain heavily. According to the police report, Reynoso moved Allison’s lunch out of his way as he was getting into the truck. Seeing this, Allison became very agitated and pushed Reynoso, slamming him against the open driver’s side rear door.

Still apparently enraged after he pushed Reynoso out of the truck, he violently punched him in the face. He then wrapped his arms around Reynoso, placing him in a bear hug just before he slammed him head first into the sidewalk, according to police.

Reynoso, a resident of North Lauderdale was originally taken to Boca Raton Regional Hospital but the severity of his injuries caused him to be transported in a “trauma alert.” status. He was then dispatched to the Delray Beach Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition.

After the seemingly one-sided altercation abated, the City Manager was asked for further comment in regard to his imprisoned employee. He declined to specifically contribute further reference about Allison in particular, but did say that “the city is distressed that something like this happened.”

Allison has again been accused of aggravated battery, a charge he seems to have become accustomed to. Before this latest incident he’d been arrested six times for comparable charges commencing since 2006.

One of Reynoso’s friends who visited him in the hospital said he was “in an out” of consciousness, but he was told by an attending physician that his friend was anticipated to recover. Reynoso has worked with Pacesetters, Inc. since 2011, which is a contractor for the city of Boca Raton.

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