Back in 2013, a postal worker placed a 911 call reporting a wife-beating taking place right before his eyes:

A postal worker called the police to report that a woman was being assaulted in the street outside the couple’s home in Sunnyvale, California. The responding officer would report that when he arrived, witnesses said that Gattani had been “pushing and pulling [Rastogi] along the sidewalk while punching her with a closed fist in the side and back multiple times.” The subsequent police report notes that Gattani told the officer, “He was holding [Rastogi’s] hand when they were walking the neighborhood, he denied that he ever got violent or physical.”

The people are Cuberon co-founder Abhishek Gattani and his wife, Neha Rastogi.

As might be expected, Gattani was arrested and charged with domestic battery. The felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. But, as also might be expected, the abuse continued. Last year things came to a head and Rastogi recorded an encounter that began with verbal abuse and ended with Gattani beating her in front of their child. There is another recording in which he tells her that he would like to see her murdered. She took him seriously and filed a complaint and Gattani was again arrested. This was the second time for him and he was looking at jail time.

Her husband pleaded nolo contendere and all that remained was sentencing. With the audio recordings and Gattani’s history, this would have been a no-brainer if you or I had been involved. Then the prosecutor and the defense attorney entered into a series of negotiations.

By the account of Ewart, the domestic-violence advocate, Rastogi was advised by the district attorney’s office not to attend the initial hearings because it would “complicate things.” Rastogi finally decided to see for herself how the case was progressing.

On Dec. 21 of last year, Rastogi attended a hearing. The judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney went into chambers, out of her hearing and view, for some 20 minutes.

The prosecutor met with Rastogi and gave her the bad news:

But to 36-year-old Rastogi’s dismay, the top charge against Abhishek was reduced from felony assault to felony accessory after the fact, with an accompanying misdemeanor of “offensive touching.”

As she said:

“‘Misdemeanor—offensive touching’? I didn’t even need to look this one up, as it made me laugh when then I realized that I was laughing at myself, I was the joke here,” she said in her statement. “‘Offensive touching!!!’ Please explain me is it offensive touching when a 8 month pregnant woman is beaten and then forced to stand for the entire night by her husband, is it offensive touching when a mother nursing her 6 day old child is slapped on her face by her husband because he thinks she is not latching properly with the child, is it offensive touching when a women is flung to the floor and repetitively kicked in her belly, is it offensive touching when a woman is slapped 9 times by her husband until she agrees to everything he is saying and then gets hit again for not agreeing with it sooner…?”

She went on, “Offensive touching—I call it terrorism…”

Why did this happen?

The prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Steve Fein, described the plea deal to The Daily Beast as a fair outcome, noting that accessory after the fact is also a felony, though not a violent one that would place Gattani at risk of being deported back to his native India. Fein indicated that his boss, Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen, seeks to avoid such deportations.

They didn’t care that this guy is inevitably going to kill his wife or have her killed. Their concern was that he not be deported. One can bet that fear of deportation is not much of a factor if you are a minimum wage Mexican or Central American and beat your wife. In fact, this stands the whole idea of “equal protection” on its head because this prosecutor would have no qualms about putting a US citizen in prison for the same offense. But if you are one of the elite, if you are someone, the rule of law is suspended because otherwise you might be inconvenienced.

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Susan Wright