FULLERTON, Calif. - A protest was held Saturday evening in front of a Fullerton bar to show support for a young woman who says she was drugged at JP23 and later raped.
A small crowd of people stood in solidarity with 22-year-old Samantha Velasquez, including nearby residents who say they are sick and tired of the mayhem that occurs four nights a week.
"TO OUR PATRONS AND OUR COMMUNITY:
As many of you are aware, in the early morning hours of August 2, 2021, a woman who left our establishment was assaulted in a parking structure in Downtown Fullerton. We have remained silent on social media regarding this incident to ensure that the Fullerton PD are able to diligently pursue any leads and/or suspects related to this assault. We have cooperated fully with Fullerton PD and will continue to assist in the investigation in any way that we can.
The safety of our patrons is our number one priority. Our staff and security are diligent in their efforts to ensure that our patrons are safe while on our premises. There are a number of false allegations circling social media disparaging our establishment and our staff, so we feel the need to speak out against these internet trolls who are taking advantage of a despicable and cowardly act committed against this young woman after she left our premises.
In the wake of this recent incident, we have become aware of another individual who has made accusations on social media that she was assaulted at our establishment and that this is a common occurrence at JP23. We have investigated this separate and unrelated incident; we have viewed the surveillance footage from the night this alleged incident occurred, and we can with certainty state that no assault occurred. This individual was asked to leave our premises for the safety of our other patrons and was thereafter arrested by Fullerton PD outside of our building.
We have also viewed the surveillance video footage from the night of August 1, 2021 and early morning of August 2, 2021, during the hours the victim was at our establishment. The footage outside of our establishment shows the victim on the sidewalk for approximately five minutes after bar close with a group of people with whom she left with. She crossed Commonwealth Ave, walking in the opposite direction of the parking structure where she was assaulted. We cannot assume to know where the victim went or what happened thereafter. What we do know is the victim was with a group of people, she was not alone, and she did not appear to be inebriated. She appeared to be with a group of friends and there was nothing alarming about their interaction that would have alerted our staff to any safety concerns.
Lastly, we must speak out against any allegations that our staff was in any way shape or form involved in any criminal activity. We have a zero-tolerance policy for any criminal activity in our establishment. Our staff is committed to ensuring our patrons have a safe and enjoyable experience at JP23.
Our ownership, staff and security extend our sympathies to the victim. We will assist in any way that we can to ensure her attacker is brought to justice.
We CALL TO ACTION all bar owners and employees in Downtown Fullerton to implement policies, procedures, and training initiatives to protect our patrons from any future acts of violence. If anyone has any information regarding the assault that took place on August 2, 2021, we encourage you to speak up and contact law enforcement."
The 22-year-old college student told FOX 11 that she was having drinks with a friend of a friend at JP2 when she met some people she didn’t know.
"There was a crowd starting to form and the music was playing louder and that’s when I met these two girls. They offered me drinks that a man had bought them. And I didn’t think much of it," she said.
She started drinking the drink and the group moved to the bar area.
"We all started dancing, and that was the last thing I remember," she said. "It just went completely black. And the next thing I remember is waking up in a Metro station parking structure."
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She said there were bruises covering her body. Her leggings were ripped, and all of her personal items were gone.
A rape kit found that Samantha had suffered blunt trauma.
Residents say there are dozens of bars in a small downtown area of Fullerton and the end results are always bad drunken behavior.
Fullerton police are investigating.
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