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Local News

Man Accused of Cutting Down U.S. Flag Near Santa Barbara City Hall

Kenneth Ruz, 49, is arrested after a witness reports the incident in De la Guerra Plaza

A Santa Barbara man was arrested on a vandalism charge and for resisting arrest after he allegedly cut down the American flag from its De la Guerra Plaza flagpole Wednesday night.

Kenneth Ruz, 49, was taken into custody after a passerby said he saw Ruz cutting the rope that held the flag, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

The witness reported the crime at 9:47 p.m., and several patrol officers downtown, as well as officers on the department's nightlife enforcement team, responded to the scene shortly after.

They located Ruz near the intersection of Ortega and Santa Barbara streets.

Harwood said that when officers began to initiate a pat down for weapons, Ruz "decided to start to resist and stepped away as if he was about to run away."

The suspect was dropped to the ground and handcuffed.

The witness was brought to the where Ruz was detained, and identified him as the person who had cut down the flag.

Because the alleged crime is a misdemeanor, the witness made a citizen's arrest because the crime did not occur in an officer's presence.

Ruz was taken into custody on charges of vandalism and resisting arrest, and would not make a statement about why he cut down the flag, Harwood said.

He was cited and released.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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