DJ Ben Is Latest Nightlife Attack Victim in WeHo

Benjamin Castro (Facebook)
Benjamin Castro (Facebook)

In another incident of violence involving West Hollywood nightlife, a DJ who had been working at Micky’s was assaulted at Melrose Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard on June 22.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station today confirmed the assault of Benjamin Castro, known as DJ Ben. Castro was attacked in what Sgt. Joe Trimarchi described as a random incident at 2:50 a.m.

WEHOville has been unable to reach Castro, but according to comments on Facebook he was headed home after D.J.’ing at Micky’s on Santa Monica Boulevard in the city’s Boystown nightlife district. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment.

Trimarchi said Sheriff’s deputies have arrested the alleged assailant but would not disclose his name. He currently is out on bail.

While outside the Boystown area, the attack is one of a series involving those who work or play in the area. The one that has sparked the loudest outcry is the May 24 attack on Kirk Doffing, a local resident who was said to have been visiting Rage, a bar on Santa Monica Boulevard at San Vicente. That attack, allegedly by three or four Latino men, left Doffing in a coma for several weeks and prompted local residents to demand that the City Council take steps to improve safety in the area.

Ben Coleman, a public safety activist who manages the Keep WeHo Safe Facebook page, has noted that generally there are no more than two deputies on foot patrol in the Santa Monica Boulevard nightlife district between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. While West Hollywood is one of the smallest and most densely populated city in California, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department deputies who provide police services to the city generally patrol in cars rather walk than on the sidewalks. Coleman also has noted that deputies generally return to the Sheriff’s Station by 2 a.m. to file reports, meaning they aren’t on the street when bars in the area close and empty their intoxicated patrons on the street.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has reported that the city’s rate of violent and property crimes last year was the highest of any of the 23 areas it patrols. The rate was 98 percent higher than that of the department’s South Los Angeles Station and 38 percent higher than that of its Compton Station.

It is difficult to chronicle crime in West Hollywood. The city’s Public Safety Director used to alert City Council members by email daily to crimes in the city. But the city stopped sending out those daily email notices to Council members when WEHOville asked that the notices be sent to it as well as required California’s Freedom of Information Act.

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Christopher Roth
6 years ago

Go Allison! Blame the victim!

Jimmy Palmieri
6 years ago

Hey alison…let’s play victim blame…..that fun little right wing game, where we talk about how it’s the victims fault.

Z
Z
6 years ago

@Jim, Private Security are limited by law what they can or will do. For fear of lawsuits they are prohibited from touching anyone outside of the perimeters of the establishment they are working for. Basically, they are useless outside of the establishment front door. Therefore, the city’s own Sheriff or LAPD must make the effort to patrol boystown area-especially between 2am-6am in order to maintain peace.

Jim
Jim
6 years ago
Reply to  Z

@Z, you may be correct on the limitation of private security, however, they can certainly act as a very visible deterrent to crime, serve as the eyes/ears to summons law enforcement, act as trained witnesses, in the event a delayed law enforcement response, and defend themselves, if required by the particular circumstance. The Hollywood Media District Business Improvement District figured it out. From their web site: “The BID contracts a private security company, Universal Protection Services (UPS) to patrol the BID 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The patrols are on foot, bicycle and in the Media District’s… Read more »

Randy
Randy
6 years ago

Private security is not a bad idea, however, the city benefits from major tax revenue from these nighttime establishments, and its not only in the interest of public safety, but good for the city to promote a safe environment that everyone wants to come to, to spend money. If West Hollywood starts to develop a reputation of being unsafe, it could turn out to be like Westwood back in the 80’s/90’s.

Jim
Jim
6 years ago

Why should the entire city pay for extra patrols in the club area of the city? The city should motivate the clubs to fund private security patrols to augment Sheriff’s Department resources during these hours through an business improvement district or make funding of such security patrols a condition of all bar/club Conditional Use Permits. Hiring extra deputies is very expensive. You can get more eyes and boots in the area, with better accountability, through a private security company than you can through the Sheriff’s Department.

Flores St.
Flores St.
6 years ago

Alison, your comments are unhinged. What if I am sober, and I get assaulted by a drunk person? This person may not have been drunk as he was working. Of course intoxication is a factor in this area, but just the sheer volume of people that are out and about in the early morning hours, intoxicated or not, make more police attention necessary. You just sound like you are no fun.

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
6 years ago

Per CrimeMapping.com, there was a rape Saturday night about 9 pm (fireworks time) on the 8900 block of Sunset. No details as to if in a club or elsewhere, but to note not all assaults in West Hollywood are against gay men in early AM hours.

Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)

it doesn’t matter if it’s a friggen hate crime???
violence is violence

boystown is PUMPING
(and by more visitors than residents)
The city needs to treat that whole area like a Universal Walk
or any other comparable high traffic night club area
the only solution is more boots
better patrols

the CITY and the COPS
dropping the ball
NOT keeping the area safe

Z
Z
6 years ago

@Alison, apparently you do not live in the general area of boystown? For 20 years that I have lived on Palm, off of Santa Monica, there are disruptive people who are drunk, loud, menacing to others and violent! To post that they should take responsibility for themselves is ludicrous! That’s what we pay taxes for! The police/sheriff department’s are here to protect and serve our community, not the other way around. If there was more patrol presence after hours, there would be less illegal activity and more arrest being made to clear the neighborhood’s and street’s of WeHo of the… Read more »

BC
BC
6 years ago

Why was he assaulted? Was it a robbery? Someone he knew? A hate crime?

luca d
luca d
6 years ago

currently out on bail, but no name or anything to give us some indication as to what occurred?
did they know each other, was this a bias motivated attack?
sure is a big hole in this story, but the headline implies that this was based on some form of hate crime motivation.

Alison
Alison
6 years ago

Maybe the solution is the patrons of the Boystown bars NOT get drunk and be vigilant when they leave the bars. How about taking responsibility for yourselves and not be totally dependent on the Sheriff’s Department? Take self-defense classes, walk in pairs, don’t be looking at your phones instead of being aware of what is around you, try to stay in well lit areas, etc. We do not live in a nanny state and that is what some are trying to make WeHo. Be glad you have ANY Deputies on foot. I’ve never seen any in any other part of… Read more »

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