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Protesters Demand Criminal Charges Against Fresno Police Officer For 2017 Shooting

Christian Viscarra
Isiah's mother and uncle stand with another mother who lost her son to police violence.

Protesters demanded justice Tuesday for a 16-year-old boy who was shot by Fresno police in 2017. More than 50 people gathered at City Hall chanting “Say His Name” and “Don’t Shoot.”  

The protest was in honor of Isiah Murrietta-Golding who was shot in the back of the head by Fresno Police Sgt. Ray Villalvazo. A surveillancevideo of the incident from a nearby daycare was released in 2019. Protester Dez Martinez says she saw the video.

“No matter what Isiah did, he was running away,” said Martinez. “To shoot a kid in the back of the head. Why are you aiming for his head? Why are we doing headshots? Is the police department trained to do headshots?” 

Police say they thought he had a gun and was reaching into his waistband. The video shows he was pulling up his pants. Martinez and others want Fresno District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp to press charges against the officer. 

“We need to get to Smittcamp and make her, demand her, to arrest this officer, press charges, put him through the court of law so a judge and a jury can decide his fate,” Martinez said.

Fresno’s Office of Independent Review found the shooting within policy but did recommend ten policy changes. Those include body cameras for officers on the street violence team. The boy’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2018 which is still in federal court.

Madi Bolanos covered immigration and underserved communities for KVPR from 2020-2022. Before joining the station, she interned for POLITCO in Washington D.C. where she reported on US trade and agriculture as well as indigenous women’s issues during the Canadian election. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology from San Francisco State University. Madi spent a semester studying at the Danish Media and Journalism School where she covered EU policies in Brussels and alleged police brutality at the Croatian-Serbian border.