Black Lives Matter

Madi Bolanos / KVPR

 

The Bakersfield Police Department is asking anyone who was a victim of an attack during Friday night's demonstration for Breonna Taylor to report it to the department for investigation. 

 

The protest was organized by the local activist group Black Lives Matter Kern. It started at 5 p.m. in front of the Bakersfield Police Department on Truxtun Avenue.

 

On Monday, the Fresno Police Reform Commission announced a new community survey that will assist it in making informed recommendations to the city of Fresno and its police department.

The survey asks community members questions like how comfortable would they be calling the Fresno Police for help and whether the community should have a say in the department's funding. D'Aungillique Jackson, the chair of the community input subcommittee, says the goal is to include responses from underrepresented communities. 

 

In early July, the Visalia Unified School District removed Black Lives Matter posters placed by students along a fence outside El Diamante High School.  While some saw this act as silencing free speech, the district says it was trying to protect students. Now the district is creating a new space for students to engage.

 

Brandon Gridiron is the district’s Administrator of Equity. He says the decision to take down the signs came solely out of concern for the safety of the students after several adults became aggressive.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and Fresno County’s Registrar of Voters settled a lawsuit this week that will allow a church with Black Lives Matter banners to  host a ballot drop-box.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Oliver Baines was the only African American serving on the Fresno City Council during his two terms in office starting in 2010. Prior to that, he spent nearly 12 years as a Fresno police officer. Yesterday it was announced that he will lead a new commission for police reform in Fresno, tasked with making a recommendation to the council in 90 days. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Baines about his experience with police brutality as a young man, and his vision for Fresno’s future. 

More than a hundred people gathered at an elementary school on Friday in Madera to protest police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The people behind the protest were black high school students.

Eighteen-year-old Mary Idowu led the protest which started with a “No Justice, No Peace” chant. A recent graduate of Madera South High School, Idowu said it’s important for society to see a well-organized peaceful protest from young people.

On this week’s Valley Edition: What is the best strategy to protest police brutality following the death of George Floyd? We ask local organizers from Fresno and Bakersfield.

We also head to Woodlake where the couple who built a mile-long community botanical garden are now memorializing the lives lost in Tulare County to COVID-19. 

 

Plus, a local epidemiologist discusses the impact protesting may have on the spread of the coronavirus. 

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above. 

Madi Bolanos

 

More than 100 people gathered in scorching hot temperatures on Tuesday to stand against a potential riot at the River Park shopping center in north Fresno. This group, which included Fresno police officers and community activists, was responding to a social media post that attempted to incite violence under the name of Black Lives Matter. 

 

Courtesy of Ana Cornejo

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.

Madi Bolanos

 

More than 3,000 people gathered in downtown Fresno Sunday to protest the murder of George Floyd and other black lives lost to police violence. 

The Fresno State NAACP and other black organizations in Fresno organized the peaceful protest which started in front of City Hall and lasted for about three hours. Student activist Aislyn Brown said she's tired and ready to see a change in the country’s justice system. 

ACLU

Before last November’s national election, Fresno County removed the Unitarian Universalist Church on Alluvial Avenue as a polling location because of concerns over two “Black Lives Matter” banners.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Oliver Baines has a unique perspective on the issue of Black Lives Matter and law enforcement. Currently the only African-American on the Fresno City Council, Baines also served around 12 years as an officer with the Fresno Police Department.  Speaking on Valley Public Radio’s Valley Edition Tuesday, Baines recalled his own experiences with racially biased policing, while pleading for calm and understanding in the wake of recent shootings and protests.  Baines said the often heated rhetoric from people on both sides of the issue serves to distract from the goal of racial reconciliation.

Race, police involved shootings, and the Black Lives Matter movement have captivated the Valley’s media attention over recent weeks. The case of the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Dylan Noble, an unarmed man from Clovis, rocketed back into the news last week with the release of police body camera footage of the shooting. The video was released, in part, due to public pressure to see the informative but graphic scene.

But some are questioning the motives for the intense media scrutiny.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition Reporter Jeffrey Hess explores why certain police shootings - like the shooting death of Dylan Noble - receive more attention than others. We also hear from Fresno City Councilmember Oliver Baines about his time as a police officer, his response to police involved shootings and more. Later FM89 Reporter Kerry Klein reports on the success of Fresno's needle exchange program. We also hear from NPR's Dan Charles about his latest article focusing on the five things he's learned while reporting on farmworkers.

Fresno Police Department

Fresno Police have arrested the organizer of a Black Lives Matter protest that shut down a major street in Fresno and Clovis on Saturday. Authorities say 20 year-old Clovis resident Justice Medina was cited for blocking streets without a permit. Police say Medina directed several hundred marchers to block traffic on Shaw Avenue. The protest began at Blackstone and Shaw in Fresno and continued east into Clovis.