Two men accused of knocking a woman unconscious in an apparent drunken brawl outside San Francisco’s AT&T Park last week pleaded not guilty in San Francisco Superior Court this afternoon.
Anthony Rucker, 42, and Francisco Lopez, 32, both entered not guilty pleas to assault and battery charges stemming from a fight around 5:50 p.m. Thursday at Second and King streets near the stadium. Earlier that afternoon, the San Francisco Giants had played the Oakland Athletics.
Rucker and Lopez were both arrested last week in Sacramento for their alleged involvement in the fight, which left a 27-year-old Oakland woman unconscious and also injured a 28-year-old San Jose man.
In court, Rucker’s attorney Peter Santina told the judge that it was “obvious Rucker was simply defending himself” after attending the baseball game with his 13-year-old daughter, 17-year-old son and wife.
Santina said Rucker owns a landscaping business and lives in Sacramento with his family.
Santina said the events that led to the fight were based on an erroneous assumption by the 28-year-old man who was with the woman.
The man believed that Rucker’s daughter was filming the woman vomiting on the sidewalk and started a fight. Santina said the girl was playing a game on her phone and not taking a video.
Lopez got involved in the altercation and Rucker, in an attempt to protect Lopez, swung and hit the woman, according to Santina.
Santina said Rucker was “there with his family to enjoy the baseball game” and has no criminal record.
Lopez’s attorney, Lorne Dubin, told the court that his client “was not aggressive to anyone, but was assaulted.”
In the fight, Dubin said Lopez was punched by the San Jose man, broke his nose and fell to the ground.
“The only great bodily injury occurred to Lopez,” he said.
Dubin said Lopez was at the game with his fiancé and that he lives in Sacramento and had worked as a precision mechanic for PG&E for the past six years and is a union member.
Assistant District Attorney Blair McGregor said cellphone video and witness accounts identify Lopez and Rucker as the instigators in the fight and that when the woman tried to intervene, she was punched in the face by Rucker.
She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for a concussion and was released the following morning.
The man with her suffered cuts to his mouth and chipped teeth, according to McGregor.
McGregor said both Rucker and Lopez are on probation out of Sacramento County.
Rucker was convicted of illegal possession of marijuana, while Lopez was convicted of negligent discharge of a firearm.
McGregor called the men’s probation statuses “very troubling, as well as the level of violence” that ensued outside the baseball stadium.
Outside of court, defense attorney Dubin said the judge was acting cautiously at the arraignment and that police reports do not tell the entire situation.
He said he would be examining video evidence as the case continues.
San Francisco District Attorney’s Office spokesman Alex Bastian said Lopez and Rucker know each other, but he would not elaborate on their relationship.
He said the case is a “perfect example of bad decisions made under the influence of alcohol” that led to the needless attack of a defenseless woman.
The two men are scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on July 24.
Rucker is being held on $200,000 bail, while Lopez remains in custody on $203,000.
At least three supporters of Lopez and Rucker came to this afternoon’s hearing. They declined to comment on the case and some of the women were crying outside of court following the arraignment.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News