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Ripon officers assaulted outside market
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Ripon officers were allegedly assaulted Saturday night by James Hernandez, 19, and David Barba, 26, both of Ripon, outside Ripona Market. Hernandez is seen being placed in a patrol unit. - photo by GLENN KAHL/ The Bulletin

A Saturday night DUI check point in Ripon was unusually busy for officers according to Police Sgt. Steve Meece – mostly with drivers with suspended licenses or others who were driving without a license in their possession.

The check point was located on the northbound lanes of Jack Tone Road just east of Highway 99.  Ripon Police may no longer tow a car for someone they find without a license if the driver can find a friend or relative to come and pick it up for them, according to a change in state law.

In addition to having two Escalon officers greeting motorists on the line, members of the Police Explores were on hand to run drivers’ licenses to the community service officers in nearby police cars who would check the validity of the licenses and check that the drivers were not on a suspended status.

It was about 10:30 when two officers at Ripona Market – about two miles away – radioed for help for a fight that had broken out at that location.  Officer Richard Francis had been passing the small “mom and pop” market when one individual was yelling and screaming at the officer while in the middle of a fight.  Francis and his partner turned around and the two men allegedly began to assault them.  Eventually six officers responded to the scene along with canine officer Mike Perry and his four legged partner Kilo.

Kilo searched one of the men’s car and came up with a drug pipe and another questionable item that officers put into evidence.

James Hernandez, 19, of Ripon, was charged with public intoxication and for obstructing and resisting arrest.  David Barba, 26, also of Ripon was arrested for delaying and obstructing justice and resisting arrest, police said.

While police cars were parked outside the market customers continued to walk by and into the store without being intimidated by the action.