4th of July No Picnic for Police

Several citations to juveniles for possession of alcohol, a melee at Depot Park, and a woman in handcuffs gets a backseat view of the fireworks.

The Sonoma Police had their hands full on the Fourth of July, while the rest of us watched the parade, shopped artisan vendors and enjoyed the fireworks. Here are the key actions of the day for the PD.

July 4 began relatively uneventfully, with a towed vehicle action at Sonoma Park Plaza just before 8:00 a.m.

At 12:34 p.m., there was a petty theft and shoplifting report from the quick-mart on Broadway. Tiffany Pimental, 24, of Sonoma, lifted a 5-hour energy drink and a candy bar and managed to leave the store without paying. When she came back to the store to return them for cash, however, she was recognized based on her description. The case was referred to the DA for action.

At 2:57 p.m., two juveniles at 1st St. West and the Plaza were cited for possession of alcohol by a minor. Again at 4:41 and 4:59, similar charges were made against two more individuals under the age of 21, one at Mission Terrace and one at 1st St. West. In the latter case, a 16-year-old from Boyes Hot Springs was taken home to his mother.

All afternoon police were concerned about a large gathering of Nortenos at . At one point a DJ without a permit set up a sound system and began playing loud music, but he was ordered to shut down.

At 7:47 pm police received a call of a physical fight near the petanque courts. Two officers on bicycle patrol were the first to arrive and found a melee of between 20-30 people actively involved, with more watching and others running to join the group, calling still more on their cell phones.

Sgts. Dave Thompson and Spencer Crum tried to ascertain the primary offenders in the fight, and isolated a particular subject who was throwing multiple punches at various people. He was pepper sprayed and subdued.

Another subject was taken to the ground and handcuffed as more police began to arrive by motorcycle and patrol car, for a total of 7 responding officers.  The crowd was ordered to disperse, which they reluctantly did, some then complaining to the police about being hit by skateboards or other hard objects.

Shawn Smith, 32, of Santa Rosa, was taken to jail for fighting in pubic and resisting arrest. Luis Garcia-Mondragon, 20, of El Verano, was jailed on the same charges.

At 9:17, just before the began, 21-year old Bradley Ramirez was citing for discharging illegal fireworks on 1st Street West.

A couple blocks away, at 9:23 p.m., as the fireworks were being readied at Vallejo Home Park, a woman attempted to cross the yellow security tape boxing in the safe area, insisting she had to go to work. The fireworks were delayed for approximately five minutes as police dealt with her resistance. Julia Zagaya, 24, of Boyes Hot Springs, was arrested for public intoxication, handcuffed and placed in the back of the patrol car, where she was contained while the fireworks went on.

Following the fireworks, at 10:48 pm, on Junipero Serra Dr. not far away, a fight broke out and a passing car was struck by a thrown piece of concrete. The car, a green Ford Focus, sustained substantial body damage to the driver's side rear panel. A 17-year old male from El Verano was cited and returned to his parents' custody.

At 11:12 pm, still the night of July 4, two men were stopped from setting off fireworks in the dry grass outside the on W. Napa St. They appeared to be highly intoxicated, but denied they were doing anything wrong, one of them saying Safeway was a corporation, not a person. Christopher Monroe, 51, of Sonoma, became agitated when it turned out he was on probation for battery and had to be handcuffed. Marijuana was found on his possession.

The other man, Christopher Mraz, 41, of Rohnert Park, wore a fanny pack with a key identifying him as a black belt in martial arts. He resisted putting his arms behind his back for handcuffing, and had to be subdued by a deputy using crowd control techniques, who rendered him unconscious. A 2.8 ounce bottle of pepper spray was found in the black fanny pack. Both men were charged with resisting arrest and public intoxication; Mraz had an additional charge of possession of tear gas, Monroe additional charges of possession of marijuana and violation of parole.

There was a final report of fireworks, at 4th St. East and Chase, at 11:42 p.m. The subject(s) were gone on arrival.

And after midnight, at 1:38 a.m. on July 5, another fight on W. Napa Street resulted in an arrest. Details are unavailable at this point.

Chris Caselli July 08, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Thanks to the Sonoma Police. Too bad there are so many idiots living here. 4th generation Sonoman here. Not the peaceful little town anymore. The article is written just fine. Looking forward to Andrew Karp writing the next one so we can compare and notice the difference.
Chris Caselli July 08, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Thank you to the Sonoma Police for doing a good job as always. My family mooved to the Valley in the late 1800's and we have seen a lot of bad changes over the years. The article is written just fine. Maybe Mr.Karp can write the next one.
Chris Caselli July 08, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Sorry to post my comments twice. I didn't think it posted the first time.
kathryn page July 08, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Sonoma Patch has long been a sad excuse for journalism, even when Alexis was here. This article, badly written in my editor-ly view as well, is no worse than most. Take a look at the Petaluma Patch for a comparison...I understand that Patch editors make somewhere in the neighborhood of $40K (correct me if i understood wrong, please!) Three times I sent messages in to Alexis to see if--as with other Patches--there was anything in the budget for freelancing, and never heard back. I do encourage Andrew K--and the rest of us who complain--to contribute pieces to this publication in any case.


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