Johnny Bonta was pumping gas at a Quick Stop in Fernley, Nevada when he says a group of skinheads pulled alongside him, waved a baseball bat and tried to pick a fight. “Let’s do this,” Bonta says one of them yelled.
Bonta, a Native American of the Reno Sparks Indian Colony, got back in his car with his family and took off.
Up the road, he says, the blue car swerved in front of him, slammed on the brakes and deliberately caused a crash.
“They all jumped out of the car with baseball bats, knives and a crowbar, and we knew they were going to hurt us,” his wife Lisa tells the Indian Country Today Media Network.
Lisa Bonta had to give that statement from the Washoe Medical Center, where she was laid up after suffering seizures during what ensued after the accident.
While cars passed by on the I-80 in Nevada, a brawl erupted between Bonta and members of the Cassell family. Johnny’s son-in-law, Murray, recognized one of the assailants, Jacob Cassell, as a former classmate and the son of a Lyon County Sheriff officer.
“You hear those cops coming? They’re not going to help you. My daddy is a cop in this town, and nothing is going to happen to me. You fucking ni**ers are going to jail,” barked one of the Cassells.
Nothing did happen to Cassell, and hours later he was bragging about it on Facebook.
Jacob’s friend, Josh Janiszewski, posted two hours after the attack that he “Just laid the fists and boots to some 6′ 5” tongan dude. what you got on little guys?” When someone asked if they gave them hell, Josh responded with “Oh we did. That’s for sure!”
“Sent em to the hospital, they got fucked up man, thats for sure.”
Johnny didn’t get sent to the hospital, however. Not right away at least. He remained locked up in a Nevada jail cell for six days while his family was undergoing medical treatment and unaware of his condition.
“I asked them to tell me what charges he was being held on and no one would say,” Lisa tells Indian Country Today. “They said they gave him the information, but he can’t read or write, so I needed to find out. At first they said there was a bench warrant for an unpaid $367 fine, and when we made arrangements to pay that, they charged him with battery with a deadly weapon, even though it was those boys who had the weapons. The booking papers say we owe $30,367.00. ”
Charges from the May 24 incident against any parties are now off the books at the Lyon County District Attorney’s Office, however.