Video shows officer punching man twice in Taco Bell parking lot in Northern California
Authorities are reviewing video footage that shows a Northern California police officer punching a man’s face during a struggle outside a fast food restaurant this week.
The 10-second video posted on Facebook shows a Yuba City police officer in a confrontation with a burly Ronald Ybarra, who appears to be either reaching toward his pants pocket or holding something behind his back.
The unidentified officer slugs Ybarra twice on the left side of his head, sending Ybarra’s sunglasses flying.
In the video, a man could be heard saying, “He’s got his gun dude.”
After throwing the second punch, the officer takes Ybarra to the ground and mounts his back. Several dark objects can be seen landing on the surface of the parking lot. It’s unclear whether they were being held by Ybarra or fell from the officer’s utility belt.
The video then ends as abruptly as it began.
“I don’t know what happened,” Ybarra told The Los Angeles Times on Thursday. “It all happened so quickly that I am still in shock.”
The takedown occurred Monday when the officer responded to a report of a disturbance at a Taco Bell restaurant in Yuba City, about 42 miles north of Sacramento, police Lt. Jim Runyen said.
Police released few details about the incident, saying only that Ybarra was one of those involved in the disturbance.
Ybarra said he went to the restaurant to confront a man whom he alleged had stolen a $5,000 check. During the confrontation, Ybarra said, he called 911 for assistance.
Ybarra said he doesn’t know why the officer punched him or how it escalated. He said he only remembered being slammed to the searing hot ground, and then being loaded into the back of a patrol car.
However, a woman who claims to have witnessed the whole episode told FOX 40-TV that the cop had been hit.
"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 told the station. The woman declined to give her name.
Ybarra was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and violating probation, authorities said. He is on probation for a 2016 misdemeanor conviction for assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, according to Sutter County Superior Court records.
After nearly three days in custody, Ybarra was released Wednesday.
The Sutter County district attorney’s office said no charges have been filed against Ybarra. Prosecutors were still reviewing the case, the district attorney’s office said.
The Police Department is also looking at body and dash camera footage of Monday’s arrest, said Runyen, a department spokesman.
“We take use-of-force incidents seriously and look at each incident,” he said.
As for Ybarra, he said he wants to see some action taken against the officer who punched him.
Ybarra said the takedown left him with aching pain and a sore jaw.
“It was not good. It was not fun,” he said. “I don’t know what I am going to do.”
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