Per KBAK, officers from the McFarland Police Department were dispatched near Lake Wollomes to assist officers from the Kern County Sheriff's Office and California Highway Patrol on Sunday, Nov. 26 over reports of reckless driving. When authorities arrived at the scene, the vehicles and people moved to a nearby Walmart parking lot. The Delano Police Department dispersed the crowd, which allegedly threw bottles and vandalized police vehicles as they left the scene.
Some of the individuals moved to a McDonald's, where there were reports of a fight breaking out between multiple people. The MPD said at least 50 people were inside the food chain. Officers attempted to detain two people who refused to comply with their commands, but resisting arrest, they ran away into the parking lot.
In a video of the incident, the two suspects, 22-year-old Anjanette Garcia and 21-year-old Francisco Joaquin, attempted to flee the scene after they allegedly struck two people. Garcia was taken into custody on suspicion of two misdemeanors following a brief struggle with the officers, but de-escalation techniques proved ineffective on Joaquin.
MPD said that Joaquin resisted arrest as they attempted to take him into custody. While he was on the ground, one officer was seen using his baton on his legs, and Joaquin screamed out in pain. The MPD said they used less-than-lethal weapons, control holds, and takedown techniques during his arrest. Joaquin is a convicted felon and officials have accused him of being involved in a Fresno gang. His family said they are considering legal action against what they see as an excessive use of force.
Police found a semi-automatic firearm with an illegal extended magazine on him during the arrest. Joaquin was arrested on suspicion of nine felony counts, including gang charges, carrying a loaded firearm without registration, resisting an executive officer, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
"It's obvious that it just does not look good... how it came out, but officer safety is always at the forefront of these actions and based on what I observed and what I see, I don't see it as an issue, but again, I wasn't there at the scene," said Bakersfield College criminal justice professor Dr. Tommy Tunson. "It's just like with Rodney King when George Holliday took that video. This is going to have an impact the same way."
The McFarland police department is investigating the use of force in the incident.