UPDATE 5:20 p.m.: San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tony Cipolla said that unless Strickland posts bail, he will remain at County Jail until his arraignment in court later this week.
Cipolla explained that certain misdemeanor offenses require deputies to either cite a suspect or briefly book them into County Jail before releasing them. However, Strickland has failed to appear in court on several past occasions, and so will now be held until he appears before a judge, likely Friday, Cipolla said.
Strickland could post 10 percent of his bail, currently set at $2,000, and be released prior to his court date.
Original story: A downtown San Luis Obispo business owner was randomly punched in the face Tuesday afternoon by a man police say is a longtime homeless resident with a violent history.
San Luis Obispo police said in a news release Tuesday that, at about 2:45 p.m., the department received a report of an assault in the 600 block of Higuera Street.
The alleged victim, an unidentified business owner, told police he was standing outside his business and talking on his cellphone when a man on the sidewalk began accusing him of stepping on his personal property, Sgt. Kurt Hixenbaugh said Tuesday.
Words were briefly exchanged, and the man struck the business owner in the mouth before running away, Hixenbaugh said.
Officers quickly identified Benjamin Michael Strickland, 39, a few blocks away, where he was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor battery and later booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $2,000 bail.
Hixenbaugh said Strickland is known to officers in the city as a homeless resident with arrests for past violent offenses including assault with a deadly weapon and battery causing great bodily injury in 2013.