SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – A 31-year-old man working as a driver for DoorDash did not dispute the assault charges for attacking a liquor store clerk in South San Francisco last March after the clerk asked her to properly wear her face mask in the store, San Mateo County prosecutors said Tuesday.
Rimmer Cortezgarcia Jr. argued for the attack on the night of March 24, 2021 at the Friends Market at 200 San Felipe Ave., where he went to pick up a DoorDash order for someone, according to the San Mateo County. District attorney’s office.
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The 25-year-old store clerk saw that Cortezgarcia did not have his face mask covering his nose and asked him to do so or his order would be canceled. Cortezgarcia then went behind the counter to chat with the clerk and pushed him and the clerk pushed him away. Cortezgarcia then grabbed him by the throat and pushed him into an ice-cream freezer while threatening to kill him, prosecutors said.
The clerk was eventually able to run to the back of the store and called 911, and Cortezgarcia was arrested outside the store.
He argued without question on Monday in exchange for a proposed sentence of up to a year in county jail. Cortezgarcia remains in custody on his own recognizance and is due to be sentenced on March 7, prosecutors said.
Cortezgarcia defense attorney Steve Chase called the case a ‘product of our time’ during the COVID-19 pandemic and said his customer had been in the same store the day before and was wearing his mask in the same way.
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Chase noted that Cortezgarcia waited outside the store after the encounter and believed “he was the one who was wronged.”
Cortezgarcia was “essentially homeless” and lost his car after the arrest, and delayed obtaining an apartment due to the ongoing criminal case, Chase said.
He decided to take the plea deal to avoid a possible state prison sentence if the case goes to trial, and Chase said he hopes his client will receive as short a sentence as possible.
“COVID has been really hard on him, but he’s a hard worker, he’s doing his best to get by,” Chase said.
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