Man accused of punching police officer in face at Chicano Park protest pleads not guilty

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The man accused of punching a police officer in the face could spend more than nine years behind bars.

Federick Jefferson, 39, was arraigned in court Wednesday.

His arrest comes after a violent incident Saturday, Feb. 3, when a white nationalist group attempted to storm into Chicano Cark and put up an American flag. For decades the park has celebrated Mexican history and culture by waving the flag of the Raza.

The move sparked tension, anger, and in one case violence.

Police said as officers were attempted to keep the two groups apart, Jefferson allegedly punched a police officer in the face. It’s not clear why or what group he represented. They said the officer suffered multiple facial fractures and Chief Shelly Zimmerman called the injury “significant.”

Jefferson is charged with multiple felonies, including assault on an officer and resisting arrest. He pleaded not guilty. His bail is set at $250,000.  If convicted Jefferson faces nine years behind bars.

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