Recently, a suspect was arrested after getting into a physical altercation with Santa Clarita Sheriff Station deputies at Valencia Town Center. According to reports, the suspect, C. Watson of Los Angeles, was seen by deputies pushing a shopping cart at the mall from a business that wasn’t near the area. Once the deputies confronted the suspect, he became “verbally aggressive” and began yelling at the deputies. He then allegedly grabbed a keyboard from the cart and started swinging it at officers. The suspect ignored the deputies’ commands to stop, and so they used a takedown maneuver to subdue him.
Once the suspect was subdued he was charged with assaulting a peace officer with a deadly weapon and assault causing bodily harm. He was taken to the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station to undergo booking and processing and his bail was set at $50,250.
Assault with a deadly weapon is covered under California Penal Code 245(a)(1)PC and is described as either assaulting someone with an item that qualifies as a deadly weapon OR assaulting someone without a weapon but with enough force that it’s likely to produce great bodily injury. Assault with a deadly weapon is a “wobbler” in California, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail. For felony charges, the possible penalties include between 2 and 4 years in California state prison.
Since the victim of the assault was a police officer, the penalties are enhanced if the suspect is convicted. If, when convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, the victim is a peace officer, firefighter, or other protected person, the potential penalty is increased to between 3 and 5 years in California state prison.