The man accused of assaulting three people in separate Friday incidents on the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage insists he was just dancing.
Handcuffed, shackled and separated from a judge and lawyers by glass during an arraignment hearing, 33-year-old Taurus Lapin attempted to explain a series of strange events that briefly put campus on alert and led him to the courtroom next to the Anchorage jail.
“I just want to apologize for the incident,” Lapin said.
The judge cut him off.
“Please hold on,” she said. “We’re on the record right now. This is being recorded. A lot of times, when people show up and they’ve got a lot to say…they should probably just hang on and talk to their attorney.”
Lapin barely missed a beat.
“I wasn’t doing nothing but dancing yesterday,” he said. “I was just listening to music all day and walking around.”
According to a report by the University of Alaska Anchorage Police Department, Lapin was not dancing but in fact punched a woman in the face near a bus stop, knocked a man off his bike causing “physical pain to his tail bone” and punched a woman in the side of the face "for no reason."
"Our investigations revealed that all three assaults occurred without provocation and (were) for a lack of better terms 'surprise attacks,'" police wrote.
But the judge on Saturday was not concerned with the facts of the case, as the purpose of an arraignment hearing is simple: explain the charges to a defendant, usually to many defendants in a row.
“Is your name spelled correctly on that paperwork?” the judge said.
“How about your date of birth – is that spelled correctly?”
And then back-and-forth, which could be used as evidence during later proceedings, continued in full force.
“You’d be looking at up to three years in jail,” the judge said. “That’s worst-case scenario.”
Lapin interrupted: “I want you to see if this situation is punishable at all,” he said. “I wasn't throwing physical punches out there, I wasn't trying to tear people down. I was just celebrating. I was doing some dance moves at the bus stop and around the community over there.”
“It sounds like you have a lot to say, but this isn't the time,” the judge said, and she then explained that bail would not be assigned during the hearing.
He interjected again: “So I’m going to be in jail for a while?” he said. “I’m refusing to eat.”
The hearing ended when Lapin lifted the copy of charging documents he was provided and tore the papers in half. He was escorted by two deputies back to the jail without bail.
Lapin faces three charges of fourth-degree assault that stem from the alleged incidents.