By Miriam Raftery
May 18, 2018 (Lemon Grove) – Christopher Williams has filed a lawsuit against Lemon Grove Councilman David Arambula alleging that during a meeting at Arambula’s home on July 15, 2017 to discuss Williams’ applications for marijuana dispensaries, Arambula assaulted and injured Williams.
The suit also names the city of Lemon Grove, claiming the city knew that Arambula conducted city business outside of city hall and “could be physically violent toward members of the public while he conducted official city business but never took any action to prevent him from acting in such a manner.”
Williams’ suit, filed by attorney Cory J. Briggs with Briggs Law Corporation, alleges that the assault was unprovoked. He claims that when he looked down at his phone to call a ride, Arambula struck him with a bottle and also bit, punched, kicked and choked him. The lawsuit states that he received medical treatment and suffered a fractured rib, forehead contusion, laceration to his eyebrow, and bites to his forearm. Photos taken the night of the assault show significant injuries sustained by Williams.
Arambula, in a prior interview with ECM, claimed that he acted in self defense after Williams’ assaulted him. Arambula admitted to punching and biting Williams, but claimed he did not hit him with a beer bottle. Each man accused the other of drinking heavily. He indicated that the meeting was set up at the request of a female friend, Taisha Brown, and that he later also called Mayor Raquel Vasquez to his home when Williams didn’t leave as asked, but the women left before the physical altercation, according to Arambula. Neither Vasquez nor Brown would comment.
In his earlier interview with ECM, Arambula said he was not aware of the purpose of the meeting and when he learned Williams had dispensary applications, he tried to distance himself by going outside for a swim. The suit alleges that Arambula took off his clothes and went skinny dipping while a woman on the deck shouted “Woooooo! Go, David!” and made a suggestive remark.
Williams filed a tort claim against the city seeking damages in January, but the city rejected the claim on February 26th. No details were provided at the time by the city.
Arambula did not respond to ECM’s request for comments on the lawsuit, after ECM forwarded a copy of the suit to the Councilman.
City Manager Lydia Romero sent the following statement when asked for comment:
“The Complaint, sent to the press but not served on the City, contains allegations that conflict with the City's investigation performed to date. The Complaint involves a simple allegation of assault and, despite previous claims to the contrary, does not contain a Civil Rights violation by the City or City officer. The City has engaged outside counsel to investigate the matter and, now, to defend the claim. Due to the active litigation, the City will not make any further comments.”
Williams’ suit seeks general and special damages of an unspecified amount against Arambula and the city, as well as exemplary and punitive damages against Arambula.
As ECM previously reported, other Councilmembers have raised concerned that they were not informed of the physical altercation and that Arambula did not recuse himself from actions on the dispensary applications. Williams has suggested in a prior interview that did not believe the city had treated him fairily over his applications, a point the city has disputed.
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