Detroit store owner arraigned in assault of panhandler

A Detroit liquor store owner, charged with assaulting a woman while he was trying to remove her from his store, was given a $50,000 bond as he awaits trial on the charges.

Bassam Yatooma was arraigned Friday for the alleged assault of Andrea Warren. Yatooma said he was acting in self-defense, the woman spit on him and he is paranoid about germs due to deaths in his family following the pandemic. He has said that she was asking customers for money and refused to leave his store when she allegedly spit on him.

"He grabbed her by the neck and pushed her down," prosecuting attorney Brandon Carter said. "(He) fractured her nose and several other injuries to the face."

Yatooma's attorney, Randall Upshaw, said he was only acting in self-defense and that he's never had any kind of legal issues before.

"My client is 51 years old, never been in trouble. He's been in that store for 41 years without any incident," Upshaw said.

Not only that, but Upshaw said the woman's lifestyle put Yatooma in danger.

"She took that dangerous spit and spit it in his face," Upshaw said.

Carter said whatever happened or didn't happen prior to the assault doesn't matter.

"Any sexual innuendoes, any sexual acts of the victim that took place prior to the date of the incident is...not irrelevant," he said. "After watching the video there’s no indication of any spit or any assault from a complaining witness. This is not a case of self-defense."

Carter argued that Yatooma's passport should be surrendered and wanted a cash bond and a GPS tether. His attorney says he deserved a personal bond.

After hearing both sides, Judge Joseph Boyer ordered him held on a $50,000 bond/10% and agreed to some requests from the prosecutor.

"You will surrender your passport, you will have an unrestricted GPS tether, meaning you can go where you want, when you want, you just can’t leave the state of Michigan," he said.

Warren's cousin, Shirletha, said the family just wants what's best for her.

"We just want justice to be done," Shirletha said. "The family is still involved in trying to be able to help her cope with everything."

Yatooma’s next court date is June 14th.