Driver cited for throwing hot coffee on traffic enforcement officer

Alleged assailant could face $2,000 fine, a year in jail

A Menlo Park man faces a possible battery charge after he allegedly threw a cup of hot coffee on a Palo Alto traffic enforcement officer downtown last week.

The 56-year-old man allegedly became angry on Sept. 25 shortly before 7 p.m. after the traffic enforcement officer issued him a citation in the 600 block of Alma Street, police spokeswoman Lt. April Wagner said. He then threw the hot coffee, which splashed all over the officer.

The beverage did not scald the officer, who was not injured, Wagner said. The man was then cited for battery on a peace officer.

Wagner said that traffic enforcement officers have a hard time on the job because some people become angry when they receive a citation, but attacks on them still carry a hefty punishment. If convicted, a person who attacks a police officer or other protected person can be fined up to $2,000 or be sentenced to one year in county jail or both, according to state penal code.

"Protected persons" include custodial officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or paramedics, process servers, employees of a probation department, and doctors and nurses providing emergency medical care.

If the officer or protected person is injured, the person who committed the attack can be fined up to $10,000 or be imprisoned in county jail for up to one year or both. If the assailant has a prior strike conviction or committed a serious or violent felony, they could face 16 months or two or three years in prison.

The law defines battery on a peace or police officer as willfully and unlawfully touching a peace officer or other protected official in a harmful or offensive manner while the officer is engaged in the performance of their duties, and if the person committing the act reasonably should have known the victim was a peace officer performing their duty.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Editor's note: The Weekly's policy is to withhold the names of those arrested for most crimes until the District Attorney has determined there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case.


28 people like this
Posted by William
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 3, 2017 at 7:18 pm

This person needs mandatory anger management counseling too.

15 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 3, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Self-entitled car drivers think they are above the law.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

He said – she said – who is lying? Justice Brett Kavanaugh or PA resident Christine Ford
By Diana Diamond | 69 comments | 4,979 views

Let's Talk Internships
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 663 views


Race is tonight!

​On Friday, September 21, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run, or—for the first time—half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More