Prosecutors have filed misdemeanor charges of assault and battery against a Marine from Camp Pendleton, California, who was shown in a viral video getting into a physical altercation with hotel staff in San Diego.
Marine Sgt. Jason Frink is scheduled to be arraigned at a March 1 court appearance, Leslie Wolf Branscomb, a spokeswoman for the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, told Task & Purpose on Monday.
If convicted of both charges, Frink could face a maximum sentence of one year in jail and fines, she said.
No information was available on Monday about whether Frink is represented by an attorney.
Frink is a Psychological Operations Specialist assigned to the I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group.
Marine 1st Lt. Arthur Deal, a spokesman for I Marine Expeditionary Force, told Task & Purpose earlier this month that Corps officials were investigating the New Year’s Eve incident at a San Diego hotel.
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In a statement to Task & Purpose on Monday, I MEF said that Frink is still currently with the Information Group.
“At this time Sgt. Frink has elected not to provide a statement, the I MEF statement says. “The Marine Corps is fully cooperating with investigating authorities.”
Ronnie Toms, who was working as a security guard at the Pacific Terrace Hotel, said she used her cell phone to take video of the incident, which took place around 2 a.m. on Dec. 31. Toms said Frink claimed he had a reservation at the hotel, but when staff could not find his name registered, he became belligerent.
“He didn’t yell at first, but he got weird and he put his foot on the top of my desk,” Toms told Task & Purpose on Monday. “I was like: ‘Hey man, you’re being weird and if you could just chill, we could figure out.’ I was thinking maybe he had the wrong hotel and I was just trying to help him at first to figure out what hotel he was actually at.”
The hotel’s staff asked Frink to leave after he started swearing at them, Toms said. Frink then asked if he could use the bathroom first, but hotel staff wanted him to leave immediately, she said.
Toms’ video shows Frink looking straight at the camera and telling her “f—k you”before walking to the hotel clerk and shoving her when she tried to block his path.
The hotel clerk asked Frink not to touch her and then Frink moved closer to both of them and told him, “you just assaulted her,” the video shows.
Frink then lunged at Toms, apparently trying to grab her phone, but another security guard beat Frink with a table lamp until he gave up.
Toms said she suffered cuts and bruises on her legs and her shoulders, left hip, and left ankle were injured in the altercation.
San Diego Police initially told Task & Purpose that Frink had left the hotel by the time officers arrived and none of the hotel staff wanted to file a police report.
But after Toms posted a Dec. 31 Instagram video of the incident and the ChudsOfTikTok Twitter account later shared a shorter version of the video, social media users were able to help identify Frink by finding pictures indicating that he is a Marine. I MEF acknowledged on Jan. 17 that Frink is shown in the video.
Toms credited the support that she received from social media users with helping to persuade her to seek to file charges against Frink after the Marine Corps identified him.
“With so many people reaching out and being supportive, it gave me the courage to not be afraid,” Toms said. “I felt I was safe with the help of everyone reaching out to me. It felt like I was being heard.”
As of Monday afternoon, no one from the San Diego City Attorney’s Office had told Toms that Frink has been charged with assault and battery, she said.
“I believe it’s a step in the right direction,” Toms said. “But even if we go to court, I feel like until there’s actually some form of punishment – because even if you go to court, it doesn’t mean that you’re really punished yet – until I see some of form of punishment, I won’t know if justice is served yet.”
UPDATE: 1/30/2023; this story was updated on Jan. 30 with information from I Marine Expeditionary Force about Sgt. Jason Frink.
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