Los Angeles County prosecutors have reached a plea agreement with a reputed Venice gang member who savagely beat a homeless man with a folding chair on the Venice Boardwalk in December 2013, escalating public concerns about boardwalk safety.
Apolinar Lopez, 32, faces sentencing on March 15. Details of the plea agreement were not immediately available.
Lopez was caught on videotape using the chair to strike the legs and upper torso of a man lying in a defensive position on the boardwalk near Horizon Avenue. After his victim appears to go limp, Lopez can be seen hitting him in the head. The victim’s injuries were not life-threatening, however, according to the LAPD.
LAPD officers arrested Lopez in January 2014 during a traffic stop in Venice. Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Eugene Hanrahan said Lopez is a member of the Venice 13 street gang and was found in possession of a kilo of cocaine during the traffic stop. Lopez was convicted of possession of cocaine base for sale in 2004 and 2007.
Lopez was going to be sentenced on Jan. 5 at the Airport Courthouse in Westchester, but prosecutors asked to delay that hearing until after he is arraigned on attempted murder charges in a separate case.
The 2013 attack was one of several incidents at the time, including clashes between Venice Drum Circle participants and police, prompting Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin and other city officials to implement new lighting, more security cameras and increased safety patrols of the boardwalk.