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Roque family recounts anti-Asian hate attack during three-day pretrial

Steve Angeles | TFC News Van Nuys California

Posted at Apr 11 2023 12:25 PM

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After almost a year of delays, community building, the media spotlight and the protests, the Roque family finally had their day in court with a three-day preliminary hearing in the case of Nicholas Weber.

Weber faces two felony battery counts, both with hate crime enhancements.

In the said hearing, Patricia and her parents Nerissa and Gabriel spoke about May 13 at North Hollywood in California.

That night, Weber, who was then driving a jeep, rear-ended the Filipino-American family's car at a fast food drive thru.

It then escalated into racial slurs before a physical altercation left Gabriel with a broken rib, and the family traumatized.

Throughout the process, the family and their supporters have been critical of the way the case has been handled.

From Weber's delayed arrest, to the speed of the District Attorney's filing of the case, as well as to seeking the most severe charges.

The lack of Filipino interpreters also caused some delays in the hearings.

"We can see that the rotten system is exposing itself and it’s right in front of our faces happening in that courthouse," said Patricia. "As a migrant, I feel frustrated, agitated, sad as well as anguished, just having to see my family get gaslighted, be berated and discredited for their trauma."

Weber's public defender asked that charges against his client be lowered to misdemeanors, downplaying the injuries to Gabriel Roque as not so severe.

The public defender pointed out alleged inconsistencies between the family's account from her conversation with the police on the night of the incident.

She also asked for the hate crime enhancements to be dropped, citing that at least 45 minutes had elapsed from the time of Weber's racial slurs to the actual attack.

The judge received additional video and documentary evidence which will be reviewed once the preliminary hearings resume on April 17.

The hearings will determine if a jury trial will take place.

“All of us are going from court dates to court dates, but I still feel all the anger behind me since day one," said Ysabel Roque. "But now we are witnessing the injustice of the system. The first day of the hearing I got so emotional with my sister even though I was trying to hold it back."

Weber was not called to testify. He sat quietly in the courthouse throughout the proceedings, as videos played and the victims, lawyers, and the judge discussed the night of the incident.