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Fresno City Council Announces Police Reform Commission After Workshop On Social, Economic Justice

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The Fresno State NAACP held a workshop for the Fresno City Council to discuss demands they say will create social and economic justice. It was followed by a presentation about investing in the health of Fresno's African-American community.

The Fresno City Council announced Thursday it’s creating a police reform commission. Council President Miguel Arias said the commission will be headed by former council member and police officer Oliver Baines.  

The news came after the council sat through a workshop about social and economic justice led by the Fresno State NAACP. 

Chapter president D’Aungillique Jackson and other members of the group read a list of demands for city leaders. Among them are reopening the 2017 case against the Fresno police officer who killed 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta Golding, and increasing transparency between police and the public. 

“We demand Mayor Lee Brand, Mayor-Elect Jerry Dyer, and Police Chief Andy Hall acknowledge the research backed disparities for what they are and cease explanations based on personal  opinion or perspective of said issues,” said Jackson. 

Another demand is the creation of an African-American Affairs Committee to advise the council. The committee would be made up of students from each university and school district in the city.

Following the NAACP presentation, health advocate Shantay Davies-Balch made recommendations to reinvest in the city’s African-American community. She pointed out that African Americans have long suffered poor health outcomes attributed to historic disinvestment.

“Really our fundamental starting point is just acknowledging that there is a connection between social and economic justice and we are asking for a basic investment," said Davies-Balch.

Her recommendations include better access to COVID-19 testing, and culturally competent access to healthcare in West Fresno. 

The city council also heard a proposal to fund three mobile COVID-19 testing vehicles using $5 million from the city’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. The vote to approve the collaboration with UCSF Fresno was postponed until next week’s meeting.

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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