YUBA CITY — A cell phone recorded part of what happened Monday on Bridge Street in Yuba City after police were called out to respond to some kind of disturbance in front of Taco Bell.
It’s been posted to Snapchat and Facebook, where the comments have been fast and furious — many slamming an officer for what looks like the punching of a man who was calmly submitting to arrest.
Julio Mojica proudly serves his Big Dawg fries and burgers to officers who make big orders every weekend while on shift in town.
When FOX40 showed him the video clip, he had much the same reaction as many have online.
“That’s definitely not a good way to represent your police department and your city,” he said.
The clip circulating on social media doesn’t tell the whole story, according to a woman who says she watched the entire encounter from inside Taco Bell.
She didn’t want to reveal her name or face.
“The guy laid the biggest punch on this poor cop — came out of nowhere and then there was a scuffle. So the cop did what anybody would do,” she said.
“We review all uses of force no matter how minor or serious they are. We take those matters seriously,” said Lt. Jim Runyen with Yuba City Police Department.
Yuba City police aren’t releasing many details about what led up to the punch and resulting arrest of 58-year-old Ronald Ybarra for resisting and a probation violation.
Citing this as a personnel issue, they also won’t provide any history on the officer involved in an incident now under internal investigation aside from saying he’s still on the beat per department policy.
“There’s use of forces frequently, so all those are reviewed, and if we find a violation of policy then we take a different action toward that,” said Runyen.
The department fully implemented its body camera program for officers in May, but Runyen can’t yet say what part if any of the altercation was recorded.
The officer in question responded alone to the scene as is typical in the city.
Other patrol units were called in for back up after the situation escalated.
As he sits in jail, Ronald Ybarra’s wife told FOX40 by phone that when he was hit he was trying to pull out his wallet and phone to show the officer that he’d called 911 for help in that initial disturbance at Taco Bell.
The Ybarras say Ronald stopped to confront a man identified to them by their bank as the thief who illegally cashed a credit card-based check against their account for $5,000.
For the witness FOX40 spoke with, nothing excuses what she saw out of Ronald Ybarra.
“I think the guy in question is even more guilty because he went looking for it. He was already angry. He was already aggressive,” she said.
“Really? Having a felony now because you hit a police officer? Is that worth it?” she said.
Ybarra will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.
Bail is being withheld for Ybarra because of his probation violation.
According to his wife, the 58-year-old is on probation for a three-year-old incident in which he tried to defend his parents’ home from some people who tried to seize control of it while his mother was hospitalized.