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Community Groups Respond to Police Beating of Homeless Man
18 Community groups held a joint Press Conference today at Fresno City Hall to demand police accountability, following the release on Monday of a video showing a Fresno police officer beating a homeless person. The 3:36 minute video of the press conference is below, as well as the Press Release and statement the group distributed to the media.
To view the original video of the police beating the homeless man, go to: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/02/10/18569420.php
For audio from the Press Conference held on Thursday by the mayor and police chief of Fresno, go to: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/02/12/18569804.php
PRESS CONFERENCE CONCERNING POLICE DEPARTMENT
Friday, February 13, 2009
Fresno City Hall, 2600 Fresno St.
Ongoing and recent activity involving the Fresno Police Department, including the arrest of narcotics officers for car theft and culminating in the beating of a homeless man on February 9 appear to disregard the rights of the citizens of Fresno and have caused a loss of confidence by many Fresnans.
In response to this situation, the Central California Criminal Justice Committee, California Prison Moratorium Project, National Network in Action, the Mexican American Political Association, M.E.Ch.A., The Community Alliance Newspaper, The Undercurrent, Brown Berets, the Central Valley Progressive PAC, Hmong Justice USA, C.A.F.E. Infoshop, Californians for Justice, and the Fresno Area Chapter ACLU-NC will hold a joint press conference to discuss what must be done to establish citizen confidence.
The Press Conference will be held in front of Fresno's City Hall on Friday, February 13, at 10:00 AM.
For many years, police activities in Fresno have caused many members of the Fresno community to ask if the City of Fresno and specifically the Fresno Police Department respect the rights and even the lives of the members of the community, culminating on February 9, when two FPD officers were filmed beating a homeless man.
The result is that there is a severe lack of confidence in the Fresno Police Department and in other law agencies.
To establish police accountability and community confidence in the Fresno Police Department, we call for the following actions:
1. An immediate Pattern and Practice Investigation of the Fresno Police Department by the Federal Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
2. The City Council, with the support of the Fresno Police Officers Association, take immediate action to support Mayor Swearengin's direction to the city manager and the Police Chief to establish an IPA
3. The Mayor, City Council Members, Chief of Police, and President of the Fresno Police Officers Association set up and participate in a meeting or series of meetings so that community members can come and voice their concerns
4. Culture and sensitivity training for the Fresno Police Department
5. Full implementation of a Community Based Policing Program
The immediate implementation of all five of these actions is essential both for the protection of the members of the community and for the protection of those police officers who are dedicated to serving the public.