MANTECA, CA- A Roseville taxicab driver was arraigned Friday in a Manteca courtroom, accused of making terrorist threats on a Manteca police officer; his attorney plans to argue freedom of speech.
Dominic Aguilar was arrested for a post on the Justice for Ernesto Duenez Jr. Facebook page. It read, "50 rounds to your dome, Moody." Officer James Moody is the officer who fatally shot parolee Duenez in June 2011. Aguilar is charged with terrorist threats and resisting arrest.
"It didn't say anything like 'I will put 50 rounds to your dome,' or 'I'm going to,'" Aguilar's girlfriend Aimee Jeffers said. "He doesn't even own any weapons."
Aguilar's sister said police came to his home with a search warrant. Manteca police officers at the courthouse Friday could not comment on the case and the prosecutor did not leave out the front lobby.
Aguilar's attorney Tai Bogan is taking his case pro bono. He believes if Aguilar wrote the post, it should be protected by the First Amendment as a form of non-traditional protest. Bogan also disputes the additional charge of resisting arrest.
"In fact, resisting arrest isn't even mentioned in any of the police reports," Bogan said. "It says he cooperated with police and went into custody without incident."
In court, the prosecution said Aguilar is a convicted felon. He has a record for unlawful gun possession. The judge denied the defense's request to reduce bail and kept the bail at $150,000.
The Duenez Family said they never met Aguilar, but he and several thousand people from across the country have been voicing their outrage over Duenez's shooting death after they posted the video of his death from Moody's patrol car dashcam on YouTube. The family wants to keep their protest peaceful, but they don't think Aguilar should be behind bars.
"They're trying to make it seem really bad and bring up any past history he has," Ernesto's brother Gabriel Duenez said. "It's not right. There are bigger things going on the streets than to stalk people's Facebook pages and arrest them for something so petty."
Aguilar's next court appearance will be Feb. 8.