A public defender in the Phoenix, Arizona was punched in the face during a court proceeding last year — by his own client. We know this because the brutal shot to the chin was caught on video.
Attorney Vladimir Gagic was just doing his job when his client, Lamont Payne, began “making a scene.” Gagic was defending Payne against an assault charge and ended up getting assaulted. The defendant was accused of assaulting a corrections officer.
In an interview with KTVK, Gagic recalled Payne “swearing and rolling his eyes and making a scene” and “[j]ust causing a commotion and being a troublemaker” in the moments leading up to the punch. In the video of the incident that took place during jury selection, you can hear the bleeps and commotion Gagic was referring to. You can also see Payne sucker punching Gagic.
Gagic said that he actually didn’t feel pain, but remembered tasting the saltiness of Payne’s skin.
“I didn’t feel any force. I didn’t feel like pain or anything like that,” he said. “It was just salty because you’re tasting somebody’s skin. It’s kind of gross, but that’s what I remember.”
“I’ve been doing this close to 20 years, and I’ve had all sorts of clients, but nobody that actually acted out on it,” he added.
Gagic was bloodied and bruised, but otherwise appears to have emerged from the incident okay. Gagic filed charges over the assault and no longer works at the public defender’s office, however.
It was not the first time a defendant has done this in court.
[Image via CBS 5 screengrab]