By Jana Kadah. San Jose Spotlight.
A San Jose official allegedly hit a motorcyclist with his car and then gave them money at a busy intersection in downtown San Jose, according to three witnesses.
Video obtained by San José Spotlight shows District 10 Councilman, Arjun Batra, handing over money to a man after Batra allegedly hit him with his 2022 Lexus.
The incident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the intersection of San Fernando and Fourth streets. Batra was turning left onto Fourth Street on a green light when he suddenly stopped his car, according to witnesses.
An employee at the center, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, said she witnessed the accident and later captured the money being handed over on video when she recognized Batra.
Batra denies this and says that he did not hit the man with his car, but that he was “very close.” In turn, he told San José Spotlight that he gave the man $40 after the motorcyclist asked him for help because he was “unlucky and homeless.”
“It is simply false. There was no accident,” Batra told San José Spotlight. “I am not a politician and in my life I have always tried to show compassion for others, particularly those who seem to need help. “That’s what I did here.”
Ann Leyva, a security guard across the street, said she did not see the accident but heard sounds of a collision. After hearing what sounded like a crash, Leyva checked who had the right of way: Batra or the motorcyclist. He said the motorcyclist crossed the street toward the library without the crosswalk light on.
“It was a loud sound of metal against metal. Maybe the truck hit the guy’s thermos (on his bike) or something like that,” Leyva explained to San José Spotlight. “The man did not appear injured.”
He said the driver, Batra, immediately stopped and pulled over to the side of the road on Fourth Street, in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library. The motorcyclist walked toward Batra and when the two began talking, Leyva said he saw Batra handed something to the motorcyclist, but he couldn't make out what it was.
Another security guard, who works at another nearby business, said he heard Batra's car screeching before it stopped. He saw the motorcyclist inspecting his bike before walking towards where Batra parked his car.
“It was a small explosion, but not a big explosion,” he noted. “Then when the guy went there and talked to the driver, the driver came out and examined the bike and (their conversation) lasted about five minutes and then the guy left.”
Batra denies inspecting the man's bicycle. He also confirmed to San José Spotlight that he does not drink or take medication and that he is not distracted while driving.
The anonymous employee who recorded the video also took a photo of the homeless man's bike, showing the rear wheel dented and deflated. He said the man was riding a bicycle when the collision occurred.
After Batra left the scene, the employee noted that they spoke with the man and that he was shaken, but not injured. He then walked away from his bike due to a flat tire.
Police were not called, sources said.
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