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Three Injured By Cars At Weekend Protests Against Police Violence In Bakersfield, Visalia

Courtesy of Ana Cornejo
Around 300 people gathered on Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield Friday night. The crowd even managed to block some of the street in front of the Police Department. One attendee, Ana Cornejo said the smoke rising over the crowd is from cars making doughnuts.

In two separate incidents this weekend, cars intentionally drove into pedestrians at rallies protesting the death of George Floyd, a black man murdered by Minneapolis police. 

In Bakersfield Friday night, around 300 people gathered in front of the city’s police department, holding signs and rallying peacefully. Ana Cornejo, a grade school teacher, was among them when a gray SUV sped through the street.

“I did see when the car drove by very, very fast through the street,” said Cornejo in an interview Sunday. “But of course organizers just kind of got everybody to move out of the way. Like, within seconds I heard, ‘he’s coming back, he’s coming back.”

Cornejo found out after she got home that the SUV hit a 15-year-old girl. Police reported the girl sustained minor injuries, and they arrested the driver, 31-year-old Micheal Tran, on charges of attempted murder Friday night.  

Credit Courtesy of Ana Cornejo
Attendees to a Bakersfield protest Friday night held signs and chanted outside of the city's police department.

In Visalia on Saturday, a blue jeep also drove into a street lined with protestors, hitting two women. Sunday afternoon, Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar announced via Youtube that the case will be submitted to the Tulare County District Attorney’s office for review of criminal charges. The two women sustained some bruises, but no serios injuries. So far, no arrests have been made.

Fresno State responded via Twitter to claims that two in the jeep are Fresno State students, saying action will be taken if that’s the case, and condemning the violence. 

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.
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