Fresno Police

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. 

Christian Viscarra

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 surveillance video of the incident from a nearby daycare was released in 2019. Protester Dez Martinez says she saw the video.

Angelo Frazier

Following more than a week of protests over the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, debate continues within the African-American community about how to bring about reform in policing. To learn more about how different generations are responding to this moment, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Pastor Angelo Frazier of the RiverLakes Community Church in Bakersfield, who has been leading prayer vigils in the midst of community protests. She also spoke with Fresno State NAACP Chapter President D’Aungillique Jackson, who organized the protest Sunday in downtown Fresno. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

At the Fresno Fairgrounds inside the Industrial Education building, a large photo of Xy Lee holding a guitar hung above a stage. Beneath it, family and friends gathered around an open casket. There were floral arrangements in the shape of a guitar and a huge heart. 

“Right now, they are going to start playing the ritual, the Hmong ritual, to send the spirit back to its original place,” said Yeng Lee, Xy Lee’s uncle. 

Alice Daniel / KVPR

At a press conference following the mass shooting that killed four and wounded six others in Southeast Fresno, Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall announced he had created an Asian gang task force, despite no definitive evidence the shooting was gang-related. Many members of Southeast Asian communities have since questioned why the police made the implicit association without definitive proof, and some worry it perpetuates stereotypes from which they’ve long sought to distance themselves.

Kerry Klein

The Fresno Police Department announced the formation of a special gang task force in response to Sunday night’s mass shooting that left four dead and six wounded in the backyard of a Southeast Fresno home. At least 35 people were at the home, and many of them there to watch a football game. 

“We’re coming for you,” Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall said at a press conference Monday morning, addressing the two armed suspects who fled the incident. He said it’s unclear if the suspects fled on foot or by vehicle.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Police Department is on the defensive after a bodycam video showing an officer punching a teenager was leaked to the public.

  Fresno Police announced Monday that they arrested the man who threatened a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Fresno.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jose Lechuga from Selma was arrested and booked by Fresno Police last Thursday. Chief Jerry Dyer said Lechuga used a fake Facebook account under the name, “Maga Shooter” to threaten that the FAB nightclub in Fresno’s Tower District would share the same fate as Pulse, an LGBTQ club in Florida where a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 in 2016.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Law enforcement and health professionals in Fresno are reeling after three people overdosed last week on the opioid drug fentanyl. 

The men snorted what they thought was cocaine, said Fresno Deputy Police Chief Pat Farmer in a press conference on Monday. The three men, who took the drug together on January 7, felt something was wrong but fell unconscious and were discovered by a neighbor.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

One candidate for a key Fresno City Council race has earned a big endorsement from local law enforcement. District 7 candidate Brian Whelan announced Thursday he has the support of the Fresno Police Officers Association. Damon Kurtz is president of the FPOA.

“We did an interview process, spoke to candidates, and Brian rose to the top,” said Kurtz. He described Whelan as, “overly qualified for the position.”

 

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer also added his endorsement to Whelan’s campaign.

 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Police officers across the country and in the Central Valley have been under increasing scrutiny and pressure for how they deal with civilians in the field. At the same time, some departments are acknowledging that their role is morphing into one that is just as concerned with identifying and helping people who might be suffering from a mental illness as it is enforcing the law. Fresno’s Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he is making changes within his force in an attempt to separate committed criminals from people who need a softer form of help.

Fresno PD

Fresno police say the man suspected of going on a murder spree Tuesday morning is cooperating with their investigation. Kori Ali Muhammad has walked police step-by-step through the process of how he killed three people and is showing no remorse for his crimes.

Chief Jerry Dyer on Wednesday explained to members of the media a second-by-second breakdown of the rampage that left three men dead, including playing recordings of the gunshots captured on police tracking equipment.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

The early days of President Donald Trump’s administration have left all manner of people scrambling to keep up and understand the local impacts of a series of executive orders. One major change is the threat to withhold federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities”, that is cities that claim to not work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to find undocumented immigrants. But what even is a sanctuary city and is Fresno in the crosshairs?

When he explained his executive order targeting ‘sanctuary cities’ last week, President Trump described the order this way.

Fresno Police Department

Community violence and a visit to the doctor might seem like two totally unrelated topics. But for people living in violent communities, and the police who patrol them, it might be more closely related than you think. In the first report in a multi-part series on the links between health care and violence in the San Joaquin Valley, we learn what happened when one man’s health care interventions became law enforcement interventions. 

Roger and Freddy Centeno were brothers and part of a big family living in Southeast Fresno. In all, there were nine kids, six girls and three boys.

Fresno Police Department

The Fresno Sheriff’s Department has released the autopsy results of a 19-year old Clovis man who was shot and killed by Fresno Police. The autopsy shows Dylan Noble was under the influence of alcohol and potentially drugs.

According to the autopsy, Noble had a blood alcohol content of .12. That’s above the legal driving limit, but since Noble was 19, far above the legal level for a person under 21.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Relations between communities in the Central Valley and police departments seem to be at a boiling point. Protests and counter protests have taken place several times this summer. The Fresno Police Department has an independent auditor who is supposed to keep an objective set of eyes on the department and help build community trust. Still, some are questioning if that position is getting the job done.

For about the last six years, Fresno’s Independent Police Auditor has been reviewing police-involved shootings and other excessive use of force complaints.

Taser

The phrase ‘seeing is believing’ takes on a whole new meaning in a world full of cellphone videos and police body cameras. Every officer in the Fresno Police Department now wears a camera that records the majority of their work. However, what footage is or isn’t released to the public is a murky subject.

Police body camera video captured the fatal shooting of 19-year old Dylan Noble in graphic detail. It was eventually released to the public to answer questions about why the unarmed man was shot.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new report from the Fresno Police Department appears to show a pattern of African-American residents being over-represented in interactions with police. African-Americans were disproportionately more likely to be interviewed than Hispanic or white residents in all areas of the city.

While they only make up about 6% of the city’s population, black residents made up between 20-to-25% of all field interviews according to police logs from the Office of Independent Review.

Fresno police are forming a dedicated unit to go after domestic violence offenders because domestic violence calls and charges are up.

Domestic violence crimes are up more than thirty percent in 2016 compared to the same time last year.

That is on top of three years of increasing reports of domestic violence in the City of Fresno.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer has formed a domestic violence task force to go after offenders, 83 of which have currently have outstanding arrest warrants.

Fresno Police say they have arrested the leadership of one of the city's most violent street gangs.

A 15-month investigation culminated Thursday morning with a highly coordinated set of raids.

At 7 O'clock, six simultaneous swat raids resulted in the arrest of 28 people including what the police department believes is the leadership of the Dog Pound Gang. 

The gang was allegedly making more than a million dollars a year, primarily in prostitution and racketeering, but is also connected to numerous shootings and murders.

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