David Arambula, a Lemon Grove city councilman, has been accused of drunkenly assaulting a medical marijuana dispensary applicant. Chris Williams claims he was brutally hit on the head with a champagne bottle, punched, kicked, strangled, and bitten by councilman Arambula.
By Cara Anderson
An assault claim was submitted to Lemon Grove on behalf of Chris Williams on January 11th, 2018. Williams’ claim includes damages due to pain, suffering, lost work, and medical costs.
Williams sustained a laceration to his eyebrow, contusions to the back and front of his head, concussion, a fractured right rib, and bites to his forearm. Williams was treated at Alvarado Hospital Emergency Room for the injuries.
On February 20th, 2018, Lemon Grove City Council met in a closed session to review the assault claim. Lemon Grove City Council has decided to formally deny the assault claim.
“I have never called the police in my life. That’s not exactly something you’re comfortable doing where I’m from. There was a lot at stake. I wondered what would people say, what would people do, what if people didn’t believe me, and how would the city of Lemon Grove retaliate against my applications for speaking out?” – Chris Williams
Throughout the past year, the assault is just one of the issues Williams has faced in Lemon Grove. Shortly after the assault, one of Williams’ properties was denied zoning clearance for being within 1,000 ft of an alleged school. The city still has yet to provide adequate fire reports proving the alleged school property is actually school grounds.
Only one of the three properties Williams applied with passed the required zoning clearance. Williams states, “I’ve been told I should shut up, be quiet, and be happy with the one that I got.”
On July 14, 2017, Williams was invited to David Arambula’s home for a business meeting concerning his dispensary applications. Mayor Racquel Vasquez was present at the gathering at some point as well.
Williams says he did not provoke the attack nor did he strike or attempt to strike Arambula during the attack. When asked, Williams claimed he still did not know Arambula’s motive for the unexpected assault.
Williams wife, Kathleen McLean, vividly remembers when Williams returned home, “I thought he had been in a car accident when he got home, I saw blood all over his face and open wounds. I had no choice but to drive him to the hospital.”
In the early hours of July 15th, 2017, McLean drove Williams to Alvarado Hospital Emergency Room to be treated for the sustained injuries. Williams’ medical treatment included a cat scan, stitches, and a tetanus shot as a result of being bitten on his arm.
In an official report to San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, Williams identified the assailant as “an elected official suffering from PTSD.” According to the report, Williams did not explicitly identify the council member or who was in attendance at the meeting.
Williams said he was considering the safety of his family as well as the ramifications that reporting the assault would have against his dispensary applications.
“This has been a grueling process, both physically and emotionally. I will share the whole truth including photos, text messages, videos, emails at the appropriate time. ” – Chris Williams
The accusation is not the first of its kind levied against Councilman Arambula. In May 2017, a restraining order was requested against David Arambula by his former employer Dorinna Hirsch, based on violent threats from Arambula. The restraining order was denied by a judge on July 6th, 2017, just a few days before the incident involving Arambula and Williams. In her request, Hirsch wrote, “He screamed that he would destroy my business and ‘mess me up’ if I crossed him.”
Dorinna Hirsch told Candid Chronicle that she is afraid of David Arambula because she believes he has psychological problems. Hirsch describes Arambula as a “psychological terror,” who she has seen go into a “manic rage.”
“I don’t think its a phase that David’s going through. I’ve known him for twenty years. He does have a violent temper, it’s just that it’s coming out more.” She added that she believes the assault on Williams did happen, adding “I know this man [David Arambula] and I know his temperament. I know he is so capable of doing this.”
Ms. Hirsch believes that there are other similar stories involving Arambula’s threats and violence. Hirsch said in the years that she’s known Arambula, there are at least four other instances she knows of where he “blew up” on people.
“He’s not a good guy, and it took me many years to see that.” – Dorinna Hirsch
As Lemon Grove has denied William’s assault claim against councilman Arambula, it is likely that a lawsuit will ensue.
Williams stated, “I’ve never sued someone before, but if I have to, I will. When’s enough, enough?”
David Arambula did not respond to a request for comment, Mayor Racquel Vasquez did not respond to a request for comment.
Candid Chronicle has previously covered the tribulations of the dispensary application process in Lemon Grove. Read about Williams’ North Ave zoning clearance appeal overturn and the potential blocked due process of black dispensary applicants in Lemon Grove.
Chris Williams is a founder of Candid Chronicle.