By Naomi Cherone
RIVERSIDE — On Tuesday, two college students were asked to present themselves in the courtroom, not for educational purposes, but for charges of excessive violence from one partner to the other.
Andres Rivera, referred to as Diaz, was accused of using excessive physical force on his ex-girlfriend, who had been a minor at the time of the incidents, while the family’s involvement made the case that more complicated.
After a relationship of five years, the alleged victim decided to break her silence, leading to her presence in the Riverside Hall of Justice.
Diaz and his ex-girlfriend, the victim, have had a history of contention and violence. But the victim’s silence in the past made the court question their alleged violent encounters.
The multiple accounts of hearsay during the victim’s testimony further elevated said skepticism, leading to several pauses during her recounting that made the court question her ability to correctly describe the occurrences.
When the alleged victim was asked about having experienced hostility from Diaz more than once, she responded by saying, “He was physically violent all during the time of dating him… there were several other times… they are all dispersed when it comes to time.”
From their relationship, beginning when the victim was 15 while Diaz was already an adult, Diaz had progressively demonstrated aggressive and forceful tendencies toward the victim. This included using his supposed connections with several lawyers to try to dissuade the victim from speaking up about those occurrences.
“[Diaz] said he was completely protected because he had the best lawyers that went to Harvard,” said the victim.
On several occasions, the victim’s life had even been put at risk whenever she put their relationship into question. Diaz had gone to the extent of banging her head on tile floors, while also slapping and kicking the victim in public and private spaces.
“If you try leaving, your stuff is going to be burned,” Diaz had said to the victim, as his shin was pushing down on the victim’s neck, according to testimony.
In another instance that occurred in the summer of 2019, the victim stated, “That day, he got mad at me because I wasn’t awake to open the door for him… his sleep got bothered when I wasn’t awake so he got mad… he didn’t want to hear my apologies so he elbowed me in the face.”
In a more life-threatening encounter, the victim recounted: “He had been mad at me for breaking up with him… there was some tension from him, so I knew not to be around him… he took his shoe off and starting kicking me on the right side of my jaw… more than five times for sure.”
The victim elaborated that after two days of Diaz’s family trying to treat the injuries to her neck and jaw inflicted by Diaz, one of his aunts finally decided to take the victim to the nearby emergency room.
“People in his family had already seen me injured… they tried rubbing CBD (cannabidiol) oil on my neck trying to make it feel better, but the best result was to go to hospital,” said the victim.
Aside from this, the family did not do much to prevent Diaz from treating the victim in such ways, and only in some instances when his family had been around did he withhold from physically attacking the victim.
The hospital visit revealed that the victim had suffered a ligament injury in the neck, a head injury, and a severe concussion that inhibited her performance in her college classes.
“I know my memory wasn’t there when it came to going back to school… I knew my memory was off,” said the victim.
The victim concluded her testimony of Diaz’s intemperate reactions by stating that, even after breaking up with him and trying to move on in life, he would continue finding his way back to her. It was not until the courts issued a no contact order that she would be in a safer environment.
After the victim was excused from the courtroom, the judge stated that the no contact order remained in full force and effect and rejected the defense’s motion to dismiss the victim’s claims based on insufficient evidence.
Diaz was held to answer to all charges, including six counts that consisted of misdemeanors and felonies.
Diaz remains on bond and has an arraignment date set for April 14.
Naomi Cherone is a writer for the LA Vanguard’s social justice desk. She is a San Diego native that is majoring in Sociology at UCLA, while planning on pursuing law in the near future.
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