By Alex Jimenez
ALAMEDA, CA – Judge Jacob Blea here in Alameda Superior Court Thursday refused to release a man on his own recognizance despite his spotless criminal record, largely because of an allegation—unproven—that the man brandished an assault rifle during a verbal altercation.
The hearing began with defense attorney Eric Mirzain arguing that Angelo Williams possessed no criminal record, has “as good of a pretrial service report as you can have” and posed no flight risk.
The allegations are that Williams had “made a threat” against an acquaintance with whom he had had previous relations, and it was claimed by the victim that the defendant had a firearm.
However, as Mirzain had noted, the video surveillance footage provided to the police showed no presence of a gun and, when he was detained, police found no firearms. The confrontation appeared to be about the victims’ relationship.
Based on those facts, the defense argued that the defendant did not pose a public safety risk and was it was not necessary to keep him in custody.
Deputy District Attorney Camille Lynne Ching strongly opposed that assessment, proclaiming significant concerns over the safety of the public given the conduct of the case.
Ching added that her information showed the defendant told the alleged victim to follow him and, when the victim failed to do so, Williams followed the victim with an AR-style weapon and expressed his disapproval of the victim’s relationship.
The defendant threatened to “pop him and his family” and told the victim to change his work route.
Ching further addressed the absence of a gun upon arrest, informing the court that Williams had been arrested four days after the altercation.
Given the fact that these individuals knew each other and the defendant made threats that he would essentially follow the victim on his work route, the prosecution expressed its concern with the conduct and requested $50,000 bail and a protective order.
Mirzain emphasized that no violence or physical altercation had occurred, stating that “if there was a danger of physical harm coming to anybody, that opportunity was present, they were engaged with each other, that’s on video nothing of that nature happened.”
Based on the information available, Mirzain does not feel that there is enough evidence to conclude that the defendant is a present danger to the community or the alleged victim in the complaint.
Once again, Mirzain pointed out the seemingly clean history, and that it was unlikely that Williams would be driving around threatening people with an assault weapon and it would be “inconsistent with his history.”
The judge acknowledged the lack of information given to him of the witness allegation of the defendant presenting a “black handgun” and making verbal threats to assault the victim with the firearm.
However, considering the seriousness of the allegations the Judge Blea decided to set bail at $50,000 and issue a protective order for the victim.
Williams pleaded not guilty and was set to return to court on Sept. 13.