Video also on YouTube.
By Kevin Deutsch
Surveillance footage from a Parkland music academy shows the moment the academy’s owner was punched out and left unconscious by a man angry with him over a parking dispute.
The series of videos, provided to Parkland Talk and the Broward Sheriff’s Office by victim Diego Gaviria, 49, shows Ray Batista, 41, rushing toward and punching Gaviria on Oct. 5 around 11:15 a.m.
Batista is seen walking away and leaving Gaviria bloodied and unconscious on the pavement outside his business, Parkland International Music and Arts School, a music academy for kids at 7337 N. State Rd. 7.
The dispute stemmed from Batista repeatedly parking in spaces reserved and marked as designated for the academy, the footage shows. Gaviria, whose music school has 360 students, had placed a sign on Batista’s black Lexus that read, “Not allowed to park, next time this vehicle will be towed,” to which Batista took exception.
Batista, a Coral Springs resident with a prior arrest history on charges of battery and delivering cocaine, attends the Boca Beauty Academy, located in the same shopping plaza as Gaviria’s music school, the footage revealed.
Some of the footage was recorded as Batista and Gaviria encountered each other outside the music academy on Oct. 5. Gaviria had stepped out of the academy’s front door that morning as Batista approached from the shopping plaza parking lot.
“Don’t put that paper on my car, bro,” Batista tells Gaviria.
“I’m trying to be nice,” Gaviria says.
“I don’t care about nice,” replies Batista.
Batista walks away, leaving Gaviria standing outside his business. Seconds later, Batista rushes back into the camera’s frame, telling Gaviria, “what’s up, what you want to do, what you want to do?”
He then lays Gaviria out with a left-handed punch, sending the business owner falling backward onto the pavement, where he hits his head.
A male passerby kneels down to aid the unconscious, bleeding victim, cradling his head. Gaviria’s son also arrives to help.
“I’m not the one you want to play with, n—-,” Batista repeatedly says as he walks away.
He returns a few moments later, passing the unconscious Gaviria on his way to the parking lot while saying, “I’m a go grip up, we can bring all the smoke, n—a,” a reference to firing a gun. “I ain’t going to f—–g play.”
Batista later turned himself in at BSO’s Parkland District, where deputies arrested him on a battery charge. Records show Batista’s surrender was arranged by his attorney, whose name is not listed in the case filings.
Following Batista’s release from the Broward County Main Jail on a $2,000 bond, he returned to the front of the music academy on Oct. 15, other videos show. There, Batista is heard telling another man about the attack ten days earlier.
“I ain’t going to lie, I lost it,” Batista says in the footage.
“I rocked this n—a. Promise you I laid this n—- clean out,” Batista says, demonstrating with his hand where he left Gaviria unconscious.
“I didn’t just randomly punch you, you know what I’m saying?” he says in apparent defense of the violence. “You came out [of the academy]; you got hit. I feel like we even. I didn’t jump you. I didn’t kick you after you was down. But you going to call the [police]?”
Batista makes several veiled threats against the music school, telling the man: “If I got something to lose, [he’s] going to lose his s—, too…before this, I was turning my life around.”
Gaviria, who suffered a severe concussion, has undergone MRIs, suffered dizziness, confusion, and headaches since the attack. He said he is afraid of what Batista might do next.
He called BSO to report the Oct. 15 incident and is pursuing a restraining order against Batista.
“I cannot be there [at my music academy]; I’m freaking out,” he told Parkland Talk Thursday. “I cannot work.”
“I’ve lived in Parkland for 15 years,” said the married father and businessman, who has managed musical acts, toured South America with major performance artists, and handled sound production at local concerts. “I’ve had my business for ten years. For this to happen here is insane.”
“I’ve always tried to help the community in Parkland. This is my home. That’s why I’m so scared that this happened here.”
“We have to do something.”
- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.