Protesters Show Up To Cali Bar Where At Least 30 People Had Been Roofied And Raped

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Around 20 demonstrators showed up on August 7th and that number doubled on August 8th in front of JP23 Urban Kitchen on the corner of Commonwealth Ave and Harbor Blvd. “It is a dangerous place, and we will shut it down,” one demonstrator said. Samantha Velasquez says she was drugged at JP23 on August 1, and then later raped, and left in a parking structure near the Metro station. Velasquez decided to post her story on social media, and it went viral. Many women began sharing similar stories on Instagram, Nextdoor, and a variety of other social media. A group formed and the consensus of the newly formed group was that the restaurant was to blame for perpetuating a rape culture. Several people began organizing protests to demand the restaurant/bar shut down.

During the first protest, JP23 released part of a surveillance camera video from the night of the alleged rape on their Facebook page. The partial clip showed Velasquez stumbling toward a table and twerking (a sexually provocative dance) with a man in a Hawaiian shirt who does not appear intoxicated. Later in the clip it shows Velasquez being led out by the man. Velasquez said she wants the restaurant to post the entire video, especially the part where she was drugged. The video clip has since been taken down. Many protesters said they thought posting the clip was meant to shame Velasquez.

When asked why the clip was released, JP23 owner Jacob Poozhikala told the Observer, “The clip shows that Velasquez was not under duress and that the restaurant’s security had no probable cause to interfere with her leaving. We have gone above and beyond what is required by any other restaurant in downtown Fullerton for the security of our patrons. We have surveillance cameras, security guards, lighting, and training that gives our patrons the sense of safety and security that makes them loyal customers.”

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