An Ocala man was arrested after he allegedly struck a woman during a fight at Darrell’s Diner early Tuesday morning.
Benjamin Neil Chalfant, 30, was charged with simple assault after the incident, which happened around 2:45 a.m. at the restaurant located at 1031 S. Pine Ave.
The victim told an Ocala Police officer she was eating in the restaurant with three friends when Chalfant began making inappropriate comments to her. She said this led to a verbal disturbance and Chalfant ran up to the table and tried to strike the victim’s male friend. This led to a physical fight that ended with Chalfant leaving the restaurant, according to the OPD report.
The victim said Chalfant returned a short time later to get his food. She said that she and her friends told Chalfant they would pay for his food due to the incident, and he became angry and threw an object that struck the victim’s head. She said she went outside to cool off and Chalfant followed her, and a fight between the victim, Chalfant and the victim’s male friend ensued. The victim’s friends’ statements supported her account of the events, the report said.
Another restaurant customer who observed the incident said he saw Chalfant trying to “catcall” the victim. He said this led to a verbal disturbance and Chalfant approached the victim’s male friend and tried to either choke him or strike him in the face. The witness said a fight ensued and Chalfant left the restaurant, according to the report.
The witness said Chalfant returned a short time later and collected his food. He said there was another argument and Chalfant ended up throwing his food at the victim. The witness said Chalfant was escorted outside and he saw Chalfant punch the victim in the head. He said he didn’t see the rest of the fight because he was inside. Employees of the restaurant also supported the victim’s statement, the report said.
Chalfant told the officer he got into a verbal altercation with the victim and her friends and they attacked him. He said he left and later returned to pick up his food. Chalfant said another verbal disturbance occurred when the victim and her friends offered to pay for his food, according to the report.
Chalfant said he got angry and threw his food at them but didn’t hit the victim. He said the victim and her three friends forced him outside of the restaurant and beat him up. Chalfant said he didn’t fight back during the incident. Chalfant, the victim, and the victim’s male friend all had visible injuries from the fights, the report said.
Chalfant was arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released later in the day on $1,000 bond. No court date was set.