A jury trial started this week, on November 26, for a young man who allegedly punched an Oceanside police officer while naked and high on meth.
The attorney for Joshua Adams Lachica, 26, suggested that officers threatened him first by displaying a taser and a metal baton, while the young man was minding his own business on a seaside sidewalk, the night of June 7.
It was only five months ago when Lachica allegedly came into the American Deluxe Barbershop on North Coast Highway, not wearing any clothes, and seated himself in one empty chair and began talking to himself. Three Marines who were in the barbershop getting fresh haircuts noticed the man’s long hair and incoherent conversation; they also remarked on his nakedness, in their testimony this week.
The Marines had intended to eat at Chronic Tacos next door, after they paid for their haircuts, but the naked man had come outside and was blocking their path; they walked around the block. When the Marines got back to the same spot, police were on scene and trying to converse with Lachica, according to witnesses.
A police officer testified that they got there about 8:20 pm, and that the busy farmer’s market which happens Thursday nights in Oceanside was only a block away. The cop said she expected a lot of foot traffic when it closed at 9 pm, and was concerned for everyone’s safety.
A bystander got cell phone video of Lachica charging officers and punching one cop in the head and kicking another officer after he was taken to the ground, according to prosecutor Joshua Brisbane. A short video clip, reportedly uploaded to Instagram, has been shown over and over, and in slow motion, for the jury.
Defense attorney Wil Rumble suggested that officers used excessive force.
After the confrontation, Lachica was being transported to hospital with bruises and swelling on his legs when he allegedly said that he had taken crank (meth), the prosecutor said.
Lachica denies felony assault on a police officer. He is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall and 192 pounds in Sheriff’s records, and has been held in lieu of $30,000 bail since the incident, 170 days ago. Lachica has a prior arrest for three misdemeanors: vandalism over $400 in value, obstruct officer, and public intoxication.
Trial continues this week, before Honorable judge Sim von Kalinowski, in department 26 of San Diego’s North County Courthouse in Vista, California.