Former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Kwame Harris will appear in San Mateo County Superior Court today on charges he assaulted his former boyfriend at a Menlo Park restaurant during an argument over soy sauce and underwear.
Harris, 30, is charged with felony counts of domestic violence causing great bodily injury and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury in the Aug. 21, 2012 incident. He has pleaded not guilty but was held to answer after a preliminary hearing last fall. He is due back in court today for a pretrial conference to either settle the case or confirm a jury trial hearing.
The man, Dimitri Geier, is also suing Harris civilly for assault, battery, false imprisonment, negligence and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Harris and his alleged victim had been in a romantic relationship but were no longer involved when they met at Su Hong restaurant in Menlo Park, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti.
Harris’ attorney Alin Cintean confirms the pair were previously involved but were just friends at that point.
Harris was to drive Geier to San Francisco International Airport but instead became upset when he poured soy sauce on a plate of rice, according to the suit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court.
The men argued for approximately seven minutes and Harris said he would no longer take Geier to the airport, the suit states.
As the men left to remove Geier’s belongings from Harris’ car so that he could instead take a cab, Harris tried pulling the other man’s pants down and accused him of stealing his underwear, according to the suit.
Geier unsuccessfully tried pushing Harris away but the bigger man shook him violently and punched him in the arms, the suit states.
Police reports list Harris as 6 feet 7 inches and 240 pounds while Geier is 6 feet 1 inch and 220, Guidotti said.
Geier allegedly hit Harris three times in the face but Harris “seemed only to grow more agitated” and punched him in the face several times until he fell, the suit states.
Harris allegedly threw Geier’s property from the car and left while Geier hailed a cab and was taken to an emergency room in San Jose.
Geier had surgery to repair broken orbital bones and required a metal plate to repair the damage.
Harris was arrested at his home.
Geier threw the first punch after the verbal fight escalated but Harris was charged because the other man ended up injured, Cintean said.
“This really is a pure self-defense case. He was attacked,” Cintean said.
Cintean said the claims and subsequent civil matter is an effort to get money from Harris.
“We’re looking forward to having this proven in court and clearing his name,” Cintean said.
A filed legal response to Geier’s lawsuit also denies every claim.
Harris was “in fear of his life and his physical well-being and was merely acting out of self-defense” because Geier was “attacking him for no apparent reason,” the complaint response states.
Harris also denies the allegation of falsely imprisoning Geier, saying he was at no time prevented or told he could not leave.
If convicted, Harris faces up to seven years in prison, Guidotti said.
He is free from custody on $75,000 bail.