The man seen on video and accused of repeatedly punching two women during a dispute with a downtown Los Angeles street vendor says he was just trying to protect himself after the women cursed and attacked him, it was reported Friday.
“I definitely feel bad, I wish they didn’t spit on me or attack me,” Arka Oroojian told Fox11.
Oroojian said he was upset about the quality of a hot dog he had just purchased from a vendor when the women went after him.
“The woman that was cussing me out spits on me, her friend then attacks me, I fall down on the ground, they both start kicking me,” Oroojian said. “If you look at the video, it literally shows them coming towards me. I was just defending myself. I’m a really big person, the last thing I want to do is fight.”
Oroojian said he wanted people to know his side of what happened and to defend himself from attacks on social media, Fox11 reported.
“The truth is, I was just defending myself, that’s all I was doing,” he said. “I hope people can hear this because they’re crucifying me (on social media).”
Oroojian, 30, of Sylmar turned himself in Tuesday night at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Station and was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the LAPD. He was released on $90,000 bail Wednesday afternoon.
The confrontation, part of which was caught on cellphone video, remains under investigation.
Police posted the video on the LAPD Twitter page Tuesday and asked for the public’s help in finding the man, stating, “This guy brutally punched two women at a hotdog stand on Jan. 26 in the area of 6th & Spring. Someone knows him and we would like to be one of those people.”
The video of the attack has been widely circulated since the Saturday night altercation that sent the two women to a hospital.
One of the women involved in the fight told NBC4 the assailant was arguing with a vendor over the $6 cost of a hot dog. When the confrontation escalated, another vendor offered the man a free hot dog, but the man continued arguing, prompting the two women to intervene.
“Me and my friend said something like, `Just leave,”’ the unidentified woman told the station.
The man can be seen on the cellphone video slugging both women. They try to retaliate, prompting the man to punch them again, knocking both of them to the ground as the crowd gathered in the area reacts, but does not intervene.
The father of one of the women posted the video on Facebook and expressed outrage that nobody tried to help them.
“For a crowd of men to sit back and not only watch, but film two girls get beat on by a 6 (foot) 250 lb. guy. My family and I are disgusted to say the least,” the man wrote.
He also said once the fight ended and the women were on the ground, “Nobody even tried to help them up or ask if they were OK. Instead, the people standing around laughed and cheered as if the sight of two small girls getting beat on by a huge 250 lb. man was a sight of entertainment. One of the people watching was a bouncer of the bar this occurred in front of.”
A man claiming to have witnessed the brawl told CBS2 the women were to blame for the fight.
“There’s two sides to every story and those two women started that,” the witness, identified only as Stewart, told the station.
He said the women called the man derogatory names before the scuffle began.
“They started punching on him first,” Stewart said. “Once they punched on him first, jumping on his back, then he defended himself by counterpunching these women and things like that. So the video caught only the second glimpse of the story.”