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Man charged with hate crime, battery in Point Loma Heights incident

San Diego police
Posted at 12:09 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 18:11:48-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — The city attorney's office Friday announced it's filed charges against a man who allegedly hurled racial slurs and struck a utility worker in Point Loma Heights.

The Office of City Attorney Mara W. Elliot has filed charges against Roger Stefan Witthoeft Jr. for the incident that took place at a San Diego Gas and Electric roadblock the night of Sept. 15, 2021, at the corner of Voltaire Street and Mendocino Boulevard.

The incident occurred when an SDG&E traffic controller, who was described as a Latino man, warned Witthoeft of the road closure after Witthoeft failed to yield to traffic cones, signs, and a utility truck with hazard and amber lights to warn motorists.

Witthoeft, then, exited his pickup truck and verbally and physically confronted the traffic controller.

According to the city attorney's office, Witthoeft shouted several racial slurs at the worker, including variations of, "`Why don't you talk in English you f---ing immigrant?' and 'Go back to your country you f---ing immigrant."'

Witnesses also told law enforcement that Witthoeft urged the traffic controller to fight him, shoved the worker, and swung at the worker, knocking off his hardhat.

Witthoeft was identified by authorities as the brother of Ashli Babbit. She was the San Diego woman who was fatally shot by a police officer during the January 6 insurrection.

Witthoeft was arraigned on March 1 on charges of committing battery, with a hate crime enhancement and violating the victim's constitutional rights by the threat of force. His trial is scheduled for April.