A customer who reportedly refused to pay for her meal at a taco stand in Watts erupted into a violent frenzy, assaulting a staff member – and the entire incident was captured on video.
The incident occurred around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday at Tacos Ortiz stand, situated on Grandee Avenue and E 103rd Street. According to the police report, the individual declined to pay for her order, prompting the workers to start recording the incident.
In the video footage, the suspect can be seen reaching across the table and grabbing a female staff member, pulling her closer. While gripping the worker with one hand, the suspect used her other hand to deliver at least five punches. The aggressor also hurled a water bottle and seized the stand’s sign, launching it towards the workers before swiftly departing.
Before the recording began, the workers noted that the woman had used pepper spray on them. Joana Vasquez, the staff member subjected to the repeated punches, shared, “I was in a state of shock, you could say. I was unsure whether to defend myself or not, because on one hand, she was attacking me and I thought if I defend myself, I might get hurt even more.”
The owner of the taco stand revealed that this incident marked the fifth occasion when the woman had fled after placing an order without paying. This time, the workers insisted on payment, resulting in the altercation. Vasquez added, “She sprayed pepper spray at us. All I wanted to do was cry and shout, but I couldn’t, due to the intense pain.”
Ash Wahi, the CEO of Simplified Companies, a staffing and transportation firm, confirmed that the woman in the video had been an employee of the company. Wahi and his team visited the taco stand to express their support for the street vendors after witnessing the brutal attack on video. He emphasized that their company unequivocally condemns any form of violence.
“My initial reaction was one of anger. Why? Why would someone resort to such actions when others are merely trying to provide for their families?” he questioned. “We learned about her actions at 6:30 this morning, and she was dismissed by 8:30.”
Wahi disclosed that not only was the woman terminated, but they also engaged Tacos Ortiz for a catering event at their company. Meanwhile, the workers revealed their intention to pursue legal charges against the woman, whose identity remains undisclosed. The police stated that no arrests have been made.