Stab Magazine | Charges dropped against Sunny, J-Flo awaits ASP decision
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Charges dropped against Sunny, J-Flo awaits ASP decision

A cameraman who alleged to Burleigh Heads Police that Hawaiian Sunny Garcia assaulted him on Saturday, has this afternoon formally withdrawn his charge. On Saturday, at the Breaka Burleigh Pro, Gold Coast, Sunny and Frenchman Jeremy Flores were involved in an incident near the contest site that resulted in Jeremy’s disqualification from the Breaka Pro […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

A cameraman who alleged to Burleigh Heads Police that Hawaiian Sunny Garcia assaulted him on Saturday, has this afternoon formally withdrawn his charge.

On Saturday, at the Breaka Burleigh Pro, Gold Coast, Sunny and Frenchman Jeremy Flores were involved in an incident near the contest site that resulted in Jeremy’s disqualification from the Breaka Pro and Sunny’s suspension from his next contest, the 2011 Surfest Pro in Newcastle, Australia.

During a one-hour contest holding period (while the tide turned), Sunny’s 16-year-old son, Stone, exchanged words with a local in the lineup. Jeremy stepped in, and he and the local went ashore to exchange blows. Sunny, spotting the situation from where he was standing on the rocks, bolted down the beach and grabbed the local in a headlock before punching him.

After the altercation, Sunny headed for the showers, where a cameraman who was filming him was allegedly kicked in the back by the Hawaiian.

Burleigh Heads Police told Stab this morning that the cameraman was pressing charges. They said that the initial report was taken by a Senior Constable at Eleanor Police Beat, and the matter was handed over for investigation by a Burleigh Heads detective.

At 3pm this afternoon, Brisbane Police Media contacted Stab to advise that the assault charge against Sunny had been formally withdrawn.

When Stab first spoke to Burleigh Heads Police, they showed no records of any officers attending the scene. Sunny, however, had contacted high-profile Queensland Lawyer Chris Nyst to seek legal advice.

The Burleigh Police told Stab that the local surfer involved in the initial incident has not pressed any charges. In a statement regarding the initial implication, lawyer Nyst said:

”Some reports have suggested Mr Garcia initiated the incident. He did not. He became involved after he witnessed his 16-year-old son being assaulted by an older, larger man. He came to the boy’s defence, as any father would. He and the other man, who is a local Burleigh Heads surfer, have now sorted out their differences and, as far as Mr Garcia is concerned, that is an end to it. He bears no ongoing ill-will towards the man.” Nyst made no statement in regards to the second incident involving the cameraman.

As a complaint must be made for the police to investigate or press charges, the first incident is not being investigated nor will it be, unless the Burleigh local decides to press charges.

When Stab spoke to Brisbane Police Media this morning, they said that police were reviewing the footage in regards to the assault on the cameraman. Considering the only footage released on the news was of the initial incident,  it can only be assumed that the footage police are reviewing at present is from the second incident and has not yet been seen by the public.

In the contest, Jeremy won his round of 64 heat and his round of 32 heat, but never got to surf his quarter final (where he would’ve faced eventual winner Taj Burrow.)

The ASP Rules and Disciplinary Committee, though having disqualified J-Flo from the Burleigh Breaka and suspending Sunny from the Surfest Pro, were awaiting the findings of the police investigation before taking further action. Now that the police matter’s been resolved, eyes are on the ASP for their next move.

Stab recorded the following conversation with an industry insider who was present and witnessed the whole event. He seemed to feel that Sunny was justified in his actions.

Stab: Talk us through it. 
Insider: It was exciting. It was the most entertaining comp I’ve ever been to. We were in the tent watching, and it appeared that there was arguing going on out the back. This guy had a go at Sunny’s son. And Jeremy sort of said, “Hey, leave him alone, pull your head in.” Then the guy had a go at Jeremy and it was on. Then they started paddling in, so we guessed it was gonna keep going on the beach, so we cruised and sort of watched it all unfold. Jeremy didn’t back-down. Jeremy and the local just shaped up and went toe-to-toe. It was pretty good, they both got a few good ones in. They were going toe-to-toe for a good minute of two before Sunny jumped in. It was a good round. It was one-on-one. Sunny was on the rocks watching it all unfold. Then Sunny went in and tried to calm the situation down and ended up choking the guy and sort of finished it. They didn’t get the footage of Jeremy and the guy going toe-to-toe.

Was Sunny outta line?
Nah, not at all. From what I’ve heard, that guy picks a lot of fights out there. (Stone)’s the humblest little kid. He doesn’t look like a kid that’d give you attitude. He seems like a nice kid, he certainly doesn’t seem like he’d get in a fight. Sunny was sticking up for his mate and his son. If somebody’s having a crack at your son, I think you’re in the right.

And what about the cameraman? Jeremy and the other dude both beat each other up, and the cameraman was trying to get photos of Jeremy’s face. I wasn’t there (when Sunny attacked the cameraman), I’ve only been told that the guy was trying to get a photo and Jeremy pushed the camera away.

Amid thanks to encouragement from fellow Tweeters and fans, Jeremy posted this on his Twitter feed shortly after the incident:

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