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Center Column Archives
A large and militant protest was held in Fresno on June 16 after a young man was shot 17 times by two Fresno Police officers on June 11. 100 people protesting the shooting held a rally, attempted to see mayor Ashley Swearengin, and then marched to police headquarters. It was a spirited event, which included several of the family members of the man who was shot 17 times. The protesters demanded changes at the Fresno Police Department (FPD) that would lead to fewer officer involved shootings (OIS).
On June 18, Tony Serrano stood before the Half Moon Bay City Council to demand justice for his sister, Yanira Serrano Garcia. Yanira was killed by San Mateo County Sheriff's deputy Menh Trieu on June 3 when she was having a health crisis outside of her home at the Moonridge housing complex. The Serrano family and their supporters are asking the Half Moon Bay City Council to support a number of resolutions, including one that calls for a transparent criminal investigation into the killing of the 18-year-old.
Following the release in May of the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury report on jail medical care and conditions, one juror reported he was “shocked” at the lax oversight and poor communication between jail staff and medical personnel that led to five deaths in the facility during the past 11 months. While the "normal" mortality rate is around 125 per 100,000 inmates, Santa Cruz County's rate was 10 times that number during that period.
Simba Kenyatta writes:
As a former city council candidate and as a poor, African American, my view of campaign finance reform is markedly different than what I hear is going to be proposed. I think that there should be no private money in public elections, at all. The city needs to come up with a way to finance our elections so that every candidate starts out with the same amount of money, and no more. Of course, the first reaction will be, we can't afford that, and our budget won't allow it. Well, I think we can't afford not to. Middle class people tend to have middle class friends, poor people tend to have poor friends, and there, is where the problem lies.
Following the SPD killing of Carlos Mejia on May 20, residents have struggled against the powers that be in Salinas. On May 25, local politicians and non-profit groups worked to quiet anti-police sentiment at the large march and statewide mobilization against police brutality held in East Salinas. On May 27, the family of Mejia filed a wrongful death legal claim against the City of Salinas, and a May 31 counter-protest was held at a pro-police rally organized by retired SPD officers and law enforcement families.
Recently, students at UC Santa Cruz reported to the NAACP that two incidents of "serious racial bullying" had occurred on the university's campus. In response, the Santa Cruz Branch of the NAACP together with the UCSC Women's Center organized a "March and Prayer Vigil to Stop Hate Crimes and Racial Bullying in Our Community" on May 29. Community members, including students from UCSC, marched down Pacific Avenue and to the Town Clock where songs were sung and a prayer vigil was held.
On May 20, officers with the Salinas Police Department shot and killed Carlos Mejia outside of a bakery at the corner of Del Monte and Sanborn. They said he posed a threat because he was carrying garden shears. The killing was preceded by the SPD killing of Osman Hernandez at Mi Pueblo Market on May 9, and Angel Ruiz on March 20. Angel was shot by three Salinas Police Officers simultaneously in a Wing Stop parking lot. A video of the Carlos Mejia killing went viral, and on May 21 hundreds of people took to the streets of Salinas in response.