Suspects In 5 Freeway Fight Plead Not Guilty

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Two men accused of assaulting a motorist alongside the Golden State (5) Freeway in an attack captured by a cell-phone camera pleaded not guilty Friday to assault charges.

David Mendez, 21, and Edras Ramirez, 27, both of Los Angeles, are each charged with assault with a deadly weapon — a foot — and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. They each face up to seven years inprison if convicted.

The men are accused of brawling with 49-year-old Jerry Patterson while all three were stopped on the freeway just north of Marietta Street on June 12.

A cell phone video of the fight showed Patterson first fighting with one man before a second joined the fray.

Patterson was knocked to the ground, apparently unconscious, and his two assailants kicked him in the head before getting back into a car and leaving the scene.

Mendez and Ramirez both surrendered to authorities June 20. They were booked and released on bail. Mendez remains free on $60,000 bail, but Ramirez, who had been free on $30,000 bail, had his bail raised to $60,000 and was taken into custody until he can post the higher amount.

The smartphone video of the confrontation, which was recorded by a motorist who came upon the scene, was posted on the website LiveLeak and received more than 130,000 hits within hours.

Patterson has not been charged in connection with the roadside fight, but he was arrested on a bench warrant for allegedly failing to appear in court in Long Beach earlier this year in connection with a DUI, hit-and-run and battery case.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is due back in court Aug. 8 in that case.

Mendez and Ramirez were both ordered not to have any contact with Patterson or each other while their case is pending.

They are due back in court July 26 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for them to
stand trial.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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