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Plea deal struck in Roque family's anti-Asian hate case

Steve Angeles | TFC News Van Nuys

Posted at Aug 10 2023 11:46 AM

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About 15 months after a Filipino family was verbally and physically attacked in a California fast food parking lot, a plea deal has been reached.

On Aug. 7, Nicholas Weber pleaded no contest to a pair of felony assault counts and one driving under the influence count.

Weber was filmed shouting racial remarks before physically attacking Gabriel and Nerissa Roque in May 2022.

Roque family marks 1 year since attack

His total jail time will be some 830 days in county jail. However, Weber has been in custody for over a year now, and is on track to be released later this month.

"He has already served over 400 days of county jail time, so essentially with the good time, work time credits, it will be deemed as time served," said Sandy Roxas, a victim rights attorney.

She added: "At the next hearing, the victims will have the opportunity to speak to the defendant, to speak to the court, and make a victims' impact statement. Thereafter, the defendant will be released from custody."

The plea deal will also place Weber on two years of probation and will be required to undergo anti-bias as well as alcohol treatment.

While they declined to elaborate on the other legal options they had, the family said they felt this was the best outcome prosecutors could offer in what’s been a long legal process.

"We chose to accept it," said Patricia Roque, a family member. "Out of the three options we were given, it seemed like it was the most logical way and most logical thing to do."

Since the case began, the family and their supporters have grown frustrated with several issues, from Weber’s arrest to the speed of the prosecution, and the eventual dropping of hate crime enhancements, despite the now-viral video of Weber’s anti-Asian remarks.

Hate crime enhancements dropped in Roque family’s Asian hate case

PJ Roque, another family member, said that while they accepted the plea deal, they were presented with "unsatisfactory options."

"It was not enough to account for the damages that have been done to my family," he said, "With the whole process, we also faced a lot of difficulties with bureaucracy, slowness and the limitations of the whole system itself."

Romeo Hebron of the Filipino Migrant Center said that the U.S. justice system has failed the family.

"We see that there are outdated policies that are really not here to help people," the center's executive director said. "As a community we're here and we continue to stay committed."

The sentencing date is scheduled on Aug. 18, with many of the activists expected to join the Roques in court.

Aside from his sentence being formally handed down, Weber will also be ordered to pay restitution on Aug. 18, which is expected to be the final day of the proceedings.