Click photo to enlarge
Winston Churchill

SANTA CRUZ -- A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 7 for a man accused of attacking a Santa Cruz coffee shop employee after being told by police not to return to the downtown business.

Winston Arthur Churchill, 47, is charged with felony assault, misdemeanor trespassing and misdemeanor battery on a person. He's accused of trying to choke an employee at Verve Coffee Roasters and head-butting a customer Dec. 23.

Police say Churchill was arrested on the Dec. 22 at the Pacific Avenue cafe after twice refusing to leave the business and causing a disturbance. Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark said Churchill returned the following day and was told to leave by employees.

That led to an altercation in the restroom with an employee. A customer went back to check on them and told police he saw Churchill trying to choke the employee with the man's own tie. Churchill also is alleged to have head-butted the customer and elbowed him in the ribs when he tried to intervene.

In court Monday, Churchill was denied release from County Jail. He argued loudly with his public defender Diana August, telling the judge he "didn't want to deal with her."

Judge Paul Burdick told Churchill that issue could be brought up later on and he ordered Churchill to return to court Friday to confirm the Jan. 7 preliminary hearing date.

Churchill was agitated and complained loudly about having to remain in custody.

"Everything out of your mouth is a lie," he said angrily to his attorney.

Burdick ordered Churchill to stay away from Verve, the employee and the customer.

Follow Sentinel reporter Jessica M. Pasko on Twitter at Twitter.com/jmpasko96