YUBA COUNTY, Calif. - A Yuba County Code Enforcement officer has been suspended after his profanity-laced tirade aimed at a homeless woman was caught on a cell phone camera and shared on social media.
It all started last Thursday when a broken-down RV caught the eye of code enforcement officers.
"He knocked on my door telling me to get out of here, that he was tired of cleaning up after us dirtbags," resident Honna Lee told KTXL.
That’s the clean version of what Lee was told when she was visited by Officer Chris Monaco.
"People like me, I clean up after myself ... " Lee said in the video.
Monaco responds, "You don’t do s---."
Lee is then heard telling Monaco he can't speak to her like that.
"Get out of here before I get the f----- out of here myself," Monaco says.
Lee lost her apartment a month ago and was living in the RV, which she was in the process of repairing. She had permission from the property owner to stay there.
Thirty minutes before her recorded encounter, she was visited by a female code enforcement officer who tagged the RV for removal within 72 hours.
"Our encounter was polite and nice, like I understood and I was going to move," Lee explained.
When Monaco arrived he can be heard in the video giving her grief for tearing the tag off the window, something the other code enforcement officer said she could do because she'd already been given notice.
Then Lee protested her treatment.
"You’re not a cop, you're not badge, nothing," she says in the video. Monaco responds, "Then what are you? You’re a f------ homeless piece of s---."
"I don’t believe that anybody has a right to talk to anybody that way," Lee told KTXL.
"He is like a demon, like a devil," said neighbor Veronica Meza.
Meza is among several area residents that have had run-ins with Monaco. She saw the cell phone video as well.
"How the hell is someone going to, like, respect them when he doesn’t show them respect either?" she said.
When county officials saw the fast-spreading video they suspended Monaco pending an investigation. Their statement sent to KTXL reads:
"The officer's words and attitude captured in the video in no way reflect the professional conduct we require from our staff. We expect every single Yuba County employee to consistently treat everyone with respect."
Jason Steele does not know Lee, but organized a bail effort to get her out of jail on a disputed domestic violence warrant. He's also had a run-in with Monaco, and says the officer has 17 formal complaints filed against him.
"It’s not the way the county should be treating residents, taxpaying residents, out here," Steele told KTXL.
County officials said they are taking the investigation seriously, but Lee has her doubts, saying Monaco has a history of bad behavior.
"You can’t tell me that they didn’t know that he treats people like that," she said.
Lee told KTXL she called Monaco's supervisor after the incident but no action was taken. County officials said they took action after the videos were seen on social media even though no formal complaint was filed.