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Eagle Tribune
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
Lawrence, MA
Bouncer told to avoid Lantigua critic 'at all costs'

A nightclub bouncer charged with breaking the left arm of a vocal critic of Mayor William Lantigua yesterday described that man, Antonio Arevalo, "as a danger to himself."

david Figueroa"He is always causing problems. I have defended him in the past. And tried to help him," said David Figueroa, 25, who was charged with assaulting Arevalo, 44, early Saturday morning at a Broadway fried chicken restaurant.

Figueroa was arraigned yesterday in Lawrence District Court on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and intimidating a witness. He was released on $2,500 bail, which he had posted at the Lawrence police station Sunday evening.

The bouncer also denied calling Arevalo a "snitch" or making any reference to Lantigua during the 4 a.m. incident at Crown Fried Chicken.

However, a recording of a cell phone call Arevalo made to The Eagle-Tribune as he said Figueroa was returning to the restaurant after the initial alleged assault, includes the voice of a man who twice accused Arevalo of being "a (expletive deleted) snitch." The voice also mentioned Lantigua by name, but the context is inaudable. Yesterday, Arevalo said the voice is Figueroa's.

"I don't have a record," Figueroa, who has a 1-year-old son, told the court yesterday. "For the first time, this guy just got to me...He kept saying things to irritate me."

At the request of prosecutor Jennifer Kunsch, Judge Barbara Pearson yesterday told Figueroa to avoid any contact with Arevalo.

But Figueroa told Pearson that would be difficult as he "works in a public place" and Arevalo is "always coming around my area."

Figueroa has worked as a security guard at La Guira, a Broadway nightclub, for four years, he said.

"I am not approaching him," Figueroa said in court. Arevalo has said he chronicles the mayor's visits to nightclubs and restaurants. He is also involved in a recall effort against Lantigua and has organized anti-crime vigils.

Pearson told Figueroa to do everything he can to avoid Arevalo. If an issues comes up while he's working, Figueroa should call police, she said.

"You should avoid him at all costs," Pearson said.

Figueroa appeared in court alone yesterday, although he said he would be hiring a private attorney to defend him.

Arevalo did not attend yesterday's arraignment. In interviews and a police report this weekend, Arevalo said he believes he was targeted by Figueroa. He said Figueroa called him a "snitch" and identified him as the man "who took the mayor to court," allegedly referring to Arevalo's unsuccessful attempt in January to get a restraining order against Lantigua.

That account roughly coincides with the events that can be heard in a phone call Arevalo made to The Eagle-Tribune early Sunday morning - a call that Arevalo said he made as Figueroa returned to the restaurant looking for him a second time. The call is time-stamped 4 a.m., coinciding with the time in the police report. The newspaper retrieved the call for the first time yesterday.

In it, Arevalo addresses his alleged attacker as "Angel" because he said he did not know Figueroa's name at the time. He said he held the phone up to Figueroa as a last defense, telling him that police were listening at the other end of the call.

"Stay away because I have the state police right here on the line," Arevalo tells the man he said is Figueroa as he begins the call to the voice mail assigned to Eagle-Tribune reporter Keith Eddings.

The other voice responds, "I'll (expletive deleted) you up again."

"(Expletive deleted) snitch," the man shouts. "That's what he is a (expletive deleted) snitch."

"He's the one who had the . . .," the voice goes on, then becomes inaudable for a few words, and finally ends with "Lantigua."

In the attack before the phone call, Arevalo's arm was broken in two places.

Afterwards, Figueroa tried to run him down with a minivan, Arevalo said.

Figueroa is 6 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs 378 pounds - making him more than a foot taller and 225 pounds heavier than Arevalo.

But Figueroa, in an interview after his arraignment yesterday, said Arevalo repeatedly bothered him Saturday morning. A fight broke out between two women and a man that Figueroa was trying to handle. Arevalo suddenly broken out a camera and started taking pictures of the three parties fighting.

Figueroa said he repeatedly "told him to stop taking pictures."

"But he didn't want to listen," he said. He said he never called Arevalo a "snitch" but rather asked him "Do you want to snitch on me?"

Figueroa was also adamant that he never touched Arevalo's arm.

He is due back in court on June 17.

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