Santa Barbara- S County

Defense attorney accuses D.A.'s office of racism

Defense attorney for Francisco Rodriguez speaks out

Defense attorney accuses D.A.'s office of racism

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The attorney for a motorcyclist facing charges in a deadly crash is accusing the District Attorney's office of racism.

Investigators say 22-year-old Francisco Rodriguez and two of his friends were racing their motorcycles on a narrow stretch of Foothill Road last year, when two of them crashed.

According to witnesses, Rodriguez stopped and got off his bike immediately after the crash, but left before officers arrived.

Authorities say he tried to run from police a second time before they arrested him. His friends were both taken to the hospital, where one of them later died.

Rodriguez and his friend who survived the crash are charged with vehicular manslaughter.

But Rodriguez' attorney claims the charges were only filed because  the defendants are Hispanic.

"I believe if these were two white kids on the road, they would have never been charged," said defense attorney Ron Bamieh, "The D.A. is trying to compound this tragedy of them losing their close friend and brother, and charging them with his death."

If convicted, Rodriguez faces up to 11 years in state prison.

Jury selection is currently underway in the case.

News Channel 3 reached out to the prosecutor in the case.

He said he's not allowed to talk about the case with the media, and he said neither should the defense.

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