The Roque family and their supporters outside the Van Nuys courthouse.

Rafu Wire and Staff Reports

VAN NUYS — Arraignment for a Sylmar man accused of rear-ending a Filipino American family at a North Hollywood drive-thru, then uttering racial slurs and physically assaulting the victims, was postponed Thursday.

Nicholas Weber, 31, was set to be arraigned in a Van Nuys courtroom on one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of battery. Both charges include a hate-crime allegation, according to the criminal complaint.

It was unclear why the arraignment hearing was delayed, but he apparently was not brought to the courthouse from jail. He skipped an earlier court hearing, which prompted a judge to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.

The family and their supporters had shown up at the Van Nuys branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court in anticipation of the hearing.

The charges stem from a May 13 confrontation in the drive-thru line of a McDonald’s restaurant, where Weber allegedly rear-ended a car occupied by Nerissa Roque, 47, and her daughter Patricia Roque, 19. In a confrontation largely caught on cell phone video and posted on social media, the driver, uttering anti-Asian slurs, got out of his vehicle and approached the women, threatening to kill them, according to the family.

The women called police, and while waiting for them to arrive, Nerissa Roque’s husband, Gabriel Roque, 62, arrived at the scene. Weber then allegedly attacked Nerissa and Gabriel in a physical altercation that left the husband with injuries including a broken rib, according to the family. That confrontation was also caught on cell phone video.

District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement on Wednesday, “The unprovoked assault on members of our community is wrong and will not be tolerated. Our message against violence and racial hatred must be loud and clear. We will hold accountable the people who commit hate crimes in Los Angeles County.”

Gascón also said that Weber was arrrested in Orange County for an unrelated matter and was held on the warrant.

In a statement on the same day, the Roque family took issue with the DA’s handling of the case: “In spite of District Attorney Gascón’s statement today that the district attorney has been in ‘close contact’ with my family, to set the record straight, I think this is an exaggeration.

“On June 14, 2022, we reached out to the District Attorney’s Office through our counsel and learned that charges were filed against Nicholas Weber and that he failed to appear at his arraignment on June 8, 2022.

“Although we have invoked all rights under Marsy’s Law, we were not informed that Weber was arrested on June 16, 2022. In fact, we held a rally on June 17, 2022 demanding his swift arrest and prosecution.

“Additionally, we were not informed that Weber was transferred to L.A. County custody on June 21, 2022. We were not informed that Weber’s arraignment was scheduled for June 22, 2022. We were not informed that Weber’s arraignment was continued to June 23, 2022 because he did not come to court.

“While we were expecting to meet the specially assigned deputy district attorney, Richard Ceballos, today, we did not see Mr. Ceballos in court. 

“As of this evening the District Attorney’s Office has still not reached out to us to let us know of the information listed above or about tomorrow’s court date.

“We have been left in the dark. To me, one contact is not close contact, given the developments of the case, which we had to find out ourselves, without contact from the District Attorney’s Office.”

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