Hearings continue in efforts to seize guns of activist David Abbasi

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Details emerge of Abbasi's attempts to subpoena high-profile witnesses

David Abassi

BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KGET) — Activist David Abbasi and attorneys representing the Bakersfield Police Department and Kern County Sheriff’s Office appeared before a judge Friday, as BPD and KCSO continue their efforts to seize Abbasi’s firearms.

Lawyers representing BPD and KCSO, including attorney H.A. Sala, have filed gun violence restraining orders against Abbasi in hopes of convincing a judge that Abbasi’s five guns should be taken away for at least one year because Abbasi’s behavior characterizes that of a mass shooter.

Assistant BPD Chief Evan Demestihas testified Friday that Abbasi’s past behaviors in private and public — including at Kern Board of Supervisors meetings — was “concerning,” especially because Abbasi has access to firearms.

Between 2018 and 2019, Abbasi legally purchased five firearms, including three handguns, one AR-15 rifle, and a shotgun, according to court documents obtained by KGET.

In late April 2019, Abbasi told KGET he acted in self defense when he brandished a loaded firearm at a teenage boy. The adolescent, according to Abbasi, attacked him as the teenager’s dog killed Abbasi’s dog. Police later arrested Abbasi because he did not have “the required authorization to carry the loaded firearm in public,” per documents.

Before the court hearing Friday afternoon, Abbasi held a protest in response to BPD and KCSO’s efforts to seize his guns.

“It’s political retaliation. They’re trying to ruin my reputation,” Abbasi said at the protest consisting of roughly a dozen demonstrators.

“I want people to know that I am an honest and ethical person who wants to make Bakersfield a better place and bring ethics to Kern County,” he continued. Abbasi acknowledged he provided some of the protesters with gas reimbursement money.

Earlier this week, Abbasi attempted to serve local officials with subpoenas to testify.

Judge Stephen D. Schuett rejected Abbasi’s subpoena of Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh and Assistant City Attorney Richard Iger, arguing Abbasi did not provide enough notice in his subpoena. Moreover, Abbasi acknowledged he attempted to subpoena 5th District Supervisor Leticia Perez on several occasions, but was unsuccessful. He said he was left with no other choice but to serve her at her personal residence at 8:50 p.m. on Monday, but the ordeal ended up with him running away from the property in fear, he said.

“When I got there, her husband ran outside the door chasing me in his boxers, and telling me to get the hell out of there,” Abbasi said. Judge Schuett denied Perez’s subpoena because Abbasi did not serve Perez with $275 of compensation for missed work.

KGET reached out to Perez’s office for comment Friday, but did not hear back.

Chief Deputy Damian Nord also testified Friday. He discussed a statement Abbasi stated publicly at the Board of Supervisors meeting in April, in which Abbasi said, “If I was a true threat, there would have been a body count already.” Nord said he thought such a statement was “not normal.”

However, Cecilia Latu, a friend of Abbasi with Central Valley Cannabis, testified that she believed Abbasi is not a threat and would “never” commit a murder.

District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer was present in the courtroom for part of the proceedings Friday, but she did not testify in the case.

The next hearing in this case is set for Aug. 27 at 1:30 p.m.

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