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Cesar Chavez Day or Police State?
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
Friday Mar 31st, 2006 10:14 PM
This is the second part of a two part report today about events in Fresno on Friday, March 31, 2006. The first story and photos can be seen at:
Cesar Chavez Day or Police State?
By Mike Rhodes

The day started with students being intimidated to attend school, Fresno police officers surrounding several schools, and a look-down once the students were in class. Fresno High looked more like a prison than an institution for learning as the police helicopter circled overhead, dozens of police vehicles constantly drove around the school, and the students were locked inside their rooms.

About 150 students staged a protest inside Fresno High during morning classes. When they tried to jump the fence to join other protestors downtown, they were charged by the police and forced back on campus. There was a report of 2 students being hit with tasers and a parent being arrested for assulting an officer. In all, 220 students were detained on Friday. That compares to 200 who were detained on Wednesday.

Most of the arrests took place downtown and at schools around town as students walked out of class to protest proposed immigration legislation in Congress. Many of the students were trying to get to City Hall, where Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer had told organizers they could go and not be arrested. But, when students would attempt to get to City Hall they were turned away and/or detained by police on truancy charges. They were then taken to a community center where they stayed until their parents could pick them up.

One group of students, after having been confronted by the Fresno police department and prevented from reaching City Hall, decided to go to an event honoring Cesar Chavez at the Convention Center. Upon arriving at the Convention Center they were told they could not enter the event. They were turned away and later detained by the police.

Following the “officially sanctioned” Cesar Chavez event at the Convention Center, there was a march through town. About 1,000 marchers, led by a Mariachi band, walked about a mile through downtown with a police escort. The marchers seemed totally oblivious to the chaos that surrounded them. The marchers did not carry one sign mentioning the immigration issue.

In the afternoon, after most of the detainments of students had been made, the Fresno Police Department held a press conference. Channel 30 news (the local ABC affiliate) is reporting that police chief Dyer announced that outside agitators were urging students to walk out. This has led to concern that the police will now target community activists who either helped the students with logistical support (like providing megaphones, etc) and those monitoring the police actions.

This is similar to what happened at an earlier student walkout at Fresno High in December 2003. Following that walkout (see: ) police, school administrators, and a grand jury searched for evidence that adults had planned the walkout. No evidence was ever found.

Earlier stories about this weeks walkout:
§Aerial Surveillance
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Friday Mar 31st, 2006 10:14 PM
You could find out where the arrests were being made by watching the helicopter. When it would go to an area and circle, you could bet something was going on there.
§Students Stopped by Police
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Friday Mar 31st, 2006 10:14 PM
MAGIC - The Fresno area gang suppression unit stopped the students from getting to City Hall.
§Courthouse Park
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Friday Mar 31st, 2006 10:14 PM
After being turned back from going to City Hall the students went back to Courthouse Park. They then decided to go to the Convention Center where there was an event honoring Cesar Chavez
§Students are Detained by Police
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Friday Mar 31st, 2006 10:14 PM
After being prevented from going to Fresno City Hall, where the students were told they would not be arrested, they are surrounded and captured by the police
§The Cesar Chavez March
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Friday Mar 31st, 2006 10:14 PM
This is the officially sanctioned Cesar Chavez Day march.
§No Immigration Signs
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Friday Mar 31st, 2006 10:14 PM
There were no signs about the immigration issue at the “official” Cesar Chavez Day march. But, they did have nice music and a police escort. All photos by Mike Rhodes

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Mike Rhodes
Saturday Apr 1st, 2006 10:47 AM

The gang suppression unit MAGEC was used to detain students who had walked out of school in support of immigrant rights. Here is some information about MAGEC, from the Fresno Sheriff departments website:

M.A.G.E.C. Policies in Focus

On January 3rd of 1994, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department formally established their first gang enforcement team titled C.R.A.S.H. (Combined resources against street hoodlums).
One Sheriff’s Lieutenant commanded, two sheriff’s sergeants who supervised a six person uniformed team and a six-person plain-clothes team of gang enforcement detectives. The mission to eradicate criminal gang activity was supported by a four prong approach consisting of prosecution, enforcement, education, & prevention (P.E.E.P.)

P.E.E.P. ultimately became a resourceful guide in accommodating the public’s needs and law enforcement’s ability to navigate through common and uncommon challenges.

CRASH sought and received a grant titled C.R.R.U.S.H. (Combined rural resources undermining street hoodlums). The grant provided three additional deputy sheriffs, two Fresno County Probation Officers, a deputy district attorney juvenile prosecutor and investigator to the team. The juvenile prosecutor would aid in streamlining the vertical prosecution goal. One deputy was assigned to teach the G.R.E.A.T. (Gang resistance education and training) curriculum in specific school districts with gang affiliated students on probation. The unit collectively identified the communities needs and priorities and went to work.

A CRASH detective was assigned to the FBI’s fugitive apprehension team and a narcotic dog was added to the team.
The dedicated team of CRASH completely overhauled their gang tracking system to meet all future legal challenges associated to such enforcement. The departments proactive advances were recognized, which ultimately entitled the Fresno Sheriff’s Department to be selected as an administrative node for “Cal Gang”, a statewide database, developed exclusively for gangs. Today this system is being developed into a nationwide gang database titled Gang Net.

Current, statewide gang training was provided to enforcement members. A statewide networking base was also emphasized and established.

The Fresno County jail classification staff networked closely with CRASH. They had the immediate 7 day, 24 hour ability, to identify, and document gang members via their gang validation tracking inquiry. Their current and extensive historical knowledge of gang members & gang activity became a major investment in combating the criminal element. To date they have distinguished themselves as a primary resource on many gang investigations.

The sharing of information was an established priority for the sheriff’s department. Therefore the CRASH team attended local & state gang meetings. This corroboration with allied agencies increased critical information flow. CRASH team members were called by allied agencies to share the CRASH concepts, and standards, and to conduct gang presentations. The development of CRASH, and the organizational protocol became a supplementing model for new gang task forces.

As a compliment to this networking priority, a local gang information bulletin (G.I.B.) was created and provided internally for the benefit of our field staff and all department members. The G.I.B. ultimately became a gang information resource for neighboring law enforcement counties, the California Department of Corrections and federal enforcement agencies. To date this bulletin is mailed nationwide to over 300 peace officers and agencies.


Multi Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium.

In 1996, former Sheriff, Steve Magarian chaired a meeting, inviting District Attorney Ed Hunt, all Fresno county police chiefs, supervising law enforcement agents from the California Highway Patrol, Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, State Parole, Fresno County Probation supervisors, the California Department of Corrections and the Immigration & Naturalization Service. Sheriff Magarian proposed this meeting with a recommendation and plan to establish one unique law enforcement body to expand our war against criminal gang activity. Endorsements were received and planning commenced for the task force.

Committees were developed to work out resources, communications, staffing and various related logistics. A Chief Deputy District Attorney initially was selected as a neutral body to command MAGEC. A governing board, consisting of department heads, established policy and direction. It was determined that all CRASH personnel would be absorbed into MAGEC.

In November of 1997, the newly formed cooperative, MAGEC, was formally endorsed and honored by California State Governor Pete Wilson. On December 1, 1997 MAGEC went into operation with thirty law enforcement agencies coming together, the largest long-term consolidation in law enforcement history.

MAGEC was structured with a vertical prosecution team lead by a Senior Deputy District Attorney, a metropolitan team commanded by a Fresno Police Lieutenant, and a rural team commanded by a Fresno Sheriff’s Lieutenant. Each team would have a mix of participating agency personnel.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s department and the Fresno Police department contributed the largest number of personnel. An office site for MAGEC personnel was chosen in metropolitan Fresno.

The creation of MAGEC immediately created greater cooperation & networking among the participating agencies. The Forensic Laboratory of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department agreed to receive, analyze, and maintain custody of all controlled substances seized and submitted by members of MAGEC. This afforded members of MAGEC the ability to receive an official analysis of their evidence within one working day, or less. MAGEC personnel also received orientation training for the integrated ballistics identification system (IBIS). The database provides an evidentiary analysis of casings and bullets collected during investigations and comparison options associated to existing and unidentified evidence data.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department manages all four county detention facilities. Prior policy of the Sheriff’s department was to charge agencies booking fee’s for each arrest booked into the jail. Because of the imposed fees many agencies in Fresno County adopted an arrest policy dictating the issuance of citations for misdemeanor suspects in the field, in lieu of physical detention, when appropriate. Seeing how this may impede the increased enforcement tactics instituted by MAGEC, the Sheriff’s Department agreed to wave booking fees on all arrests by MAGEC team members.

MAGEC applied for and received a 3-year federal grant titled EPPIC (Enforcement prevention, prosecution, intervention, & counseling) Two-deputy sheriff’s and two juvenile probation officers are assigned to gang prosecution & enforcement. One deputy sheriff is in charge of gang resistance & education within designated schools. One Deputy District Attorney for prosecution and one Deputy District Attorney Investigator compliment this enforcement body. The California School of Professional Psychology supports the EPPIC body by providing counseling and guidance for at risk, gang involved, youth. A Fresno County Sheriff’s Community Services Officer is in charge of a mentoring program established in providing mentors, for support services. The CSO is also in charge of an anti graffiti program for designated cities.

In June of 1999, California Highway Patrol Captain, Cal Minor assumed the command position of MAGEC. The respected agency delivered a vast level of experience and provided a new channel of reputable training resources. This complimented and increased the successful momentum of MAGEC throughout California. The men & women of MAGEC believe that the multi-agency & multi-level approach to combat gang crime is the most comprehensive and effective method in existence. The reduction of gang crime is evident throughout Fresno County.

by posted by Mike Rhodes
Saturday Apr 1st, 2006 10:54 AM
Fresno police officers head off big walkouts
Chief Jerry Dyer says that confiscated messages, police presence kept truancy down.
By Christina Vance / The Fresno Bee

(Updated Saturday, April 1, 2006, 6:57 AM)

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Friday that "massive walkouts" planned by students were prevented by the presence of police officers.

Acting on information in confiscated text messages and fliers, Dyer said he assigned 165 officers to watch school campuses and patrol Friday after a week of student-led walkout protests against proposed federal immigration reforms.

Dyer also accused adult activists of trying to goad students into leaving their classes.

Police released copies of one confiscated message that encouraged student protesters to stop walkouts Wednesday and Thursday and "let the school teachers, police men and government think that we students have stopped protesting."

The message called for mass walkouts Friday after first period.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of students would have tried to leave their schools if not for officers around high schools and middle schools throughout the city, Dyer said.

Fresno High student Carina Castro confirmed that students had agreed to lie low before walking out again Friday.

Carina said she tried to leave school Friday morning, along with about 100 others.

"We almost did it," she said. "We thought that if we had enough people we could make it."

Carina said police quickly surrounded them, and the students decided to turn back. At one point, students saw a bus and thought it might be full of police officers, she said.

Instead of marching around town, the Fresno High students marched around school grounds for part of the morning.

Martin Cuevas listens to Maria Maldonado, right, director of school improvement for Fresno Unified, as she releases Cuevas' daughter, Guadalupe, 13, from a temporary truancy center. The teen, a Tehipite Middle School student, was involved in student protests Friday in Fresno.

By lunchtime, they returned to class, according to Fresno Unified spokeswoman Erin Kennedy.

Dyer said Fresno High was the hardest school to monitor, and he said it didn't help that adult activists were outside the school encouraging the students to leave.

"I personally think that many of these children are being exploited by these adults to be their voice," Dyer said.

Solomon Rivera, executive director of the education reform group Californians for Justice, said he was at Fresno High for about an hour along with members of some other groups.

Rivera said he didn't see anyone encouraging students to walk out.

Rather, Rivera said, his group monitored students to make sure they were safe. He praised the walkouts as historic.

"We wanted to make sure they were safe from the police because it seemed like a pretty heavy-handed approach," he said.

Fresno High wasn't the only school where police discouraged a large walkout.

About 220 Cooper Middle School students tried to leave Friday, but Dyer said officers persuaded them to stay.

On Friday morning at Roosevelt High, Everardo Segura dropped his sister-in-law Juanita Parra off at class.

Segura, along with Juanita's mom, Maria, went downtown to find Juanita when they realized she was truant.

"She was ditching," he said. "We saw her walking with a couple of her friends."

Segura said Juanita participated in protests all week.

"The first two days, it was OK," he said. "They're just walking to walk now. They're just finding excuses to leave school."

But other parents gave their children permission to protest.

Ana Rodriguez dropped her son off downtown to participate.

She said the Clovis East High School freshman hadn't joined in previous protests.

"If they believe in it, why not encourage them?" she said.

Her son ended up getting rounded up by Fresno police and brought to Holmes Recreation Center, one of two temporary truancy centers.

Police drove Victoria Lopez, an Edison High School sophomore, to the truancy center with two of her cousins.

The group had avoided school grounds completely and met downtown Friday morning.

They headed toward Roosevelt High School to try to join other students.

Instead, police surrounded them about 11 a.m. at the corner of Kings Canyon Road and Maple Avenue.

Victoria thought students' concerns were being heard, but she still wanted to protest Friday. "I'm just representing all these Mexicans," she said.

Dyer said police detained 220 truant students Friday. Most of them were from Sunnyside High School and Tehipite Middle School.

Friday's protests remained peaceful, although Dyer said a parent shoved an officer at one of the truancy centers and was cited for battery.

Kennedy said Fresno Unified officials considered Friday's operation with police a success.

She said schools would continue to try to find ways for students to express their concerns. For example, Assembly Member Juan Arambula spoke to Fresno High students Friday.

"Kids are passionate. They believe their parents are going to be deported," Kennedy said. "That's a scary thing for a kid."

The reporter can be reached at cvance [at] or (559) 441-6197.
by Rita
Saturday Apr 1st, 2006 8:18 PM
I see that noisy helicopter and I think, how many class room books would that have paid for.
How a real recreation department could have used that money instead of a having to scrape the barrel for arts supplies, and play ground equitment. But that isn't Fresno City's priority, they would rather spend it on spying on peace groups, buying cool cop toys.
by TW
Saturday Apr 1st, 2006 9:40 PM
"How much does a Helicopter cost?"

The most popular cop-chopper, the Bell 206B3, starts at over $800,000.00. And of course between fuel, maintenance, and pilot's salary it costs upwards of $1,000.00/day to operate. That's okay, cost is no object when it comes to keeping a jackboot on the people's throats, especially when they're the ones paying for it.

Just how bad will it have to get before we become dangerous?
by [
Monday Apr 3rd, 2006 1:02 PM
police are violent perverts
by Mike Rhodes
Tuesday Apr 4th, 2006 4:01 PM
See video from last Monday, as students from Fresno High go over the fence. This is uncut video from a students phone/video camera:
by Laura A. Talkington-Brady
(laura.brady [at] Tuesday Apr 4th, 2006 8:07 PM
Below are the California Educational Codes that pertain to a students right to exercise their constitutional right to free speech. From what I have been told, adults that are employed by the school district publically supported the students protest. Well, well they probably should have read the codes first. I am so proud of all the kids that participated in the protest and stand behind them 100%.


48950. (a) School districts operating one or more high schools and private secondary schools shall not make or enforce any rule subjecting any high school pupil to disciplinary sanctions solely on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication that,
when engaged in outside of the campus, is protected from governmental restriction by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 2 of Article 1 of the California Constitution. (b) Any pupil enrolled in a school that has made or
enforced any rule in violation of subdivision (a) may commence a civil action to obtain appropriate injunctive and declaratory relief as determined by the court. Upon motion, a court may award attorney's fees to a prevailing plaintiff in a civil action pursuant to this section.
(c) This section does not apply to any private secondary school that is controlled by a religious organization, to the extent that the application of this section would not be consistent with the religious tenets of the organization.
(d) Nothing in this section prohibits the imposition of discipline for harassment, threats, or intimidation, unless constitutionally protected.
(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede, or otherwise limit or modify, the provisions of Section 48907.
(f) The Legislature finds and declares that free speech rights are subject to reasonable time, place, and manner regulations.


48907. Students of the public schools shall have the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press including, but not limited to, the use of bulletin boards, the distribution of printed materials or petitions, the wearing of buttons, badges, and other insignia, and the right of expression in official publications, whether or not such publications or other means of expression are supported financially by the school or by use of school facilities, except that expression shall be prohibited which is obscene, libelous, or slanderous. Also prohibited shall be material which so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises or the violation of lawful school regulations, or the substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school. Each governing board of a school district and each county board of education shall adopt rules and regulations in the form of a written publications code, which shall include reasonable provisions for the time, place, and manner of conducting such activities within its respective jurisdiction. Student editors of official school publications shall be responsible for assigning and editing the news, editorial, and feature content of their
publications subject to the limitations of this section. However, it shall be the responsibility of a journalism adviser or advisers of student publications within each school to supervise the production of the student staff, to maintain professional standards of English and journalism, and to maintain the provisions of this section. There shall be no prior restraint of material prepared for official school publications except insofar as it violates this section. School officials shall have the burden of showing justification without undue delay prior to any limitation of student expression under this section.
"Official school publications" refers to material produced by students in the journalism, newspaper, yearbook, or writing classes and distributed to the student body either free or for a fee. Nothing in this section shall prohibit or prevent any governing board of a school district from adopting otherwise valid rules and regulations relating to oral communication by students upon the premises of each school.
by Lisa Solomon
(thirdgennajjar [at] Wednesday Apr 5th, 2006 11:45 AM
I find it very ironic that the official police escort simply wore the uniforms, while the students and adults exercising their rights to freedom of speech and assembly were "handled" by officers assigned to anti-gang units. What does that say about the attitudes toward these individuals?
Monday Jul 6th, 2009 8:39 PM
"Viva La Raza" translates to "Long Live The Race." Many MEChA operatives are College trained in "Ethnic Studies" to manipulate words and at taxpayer expense to boot.. They try to change the literal meaning of words because they need to be victims rather than honest brokers. They say it means "Long Live The People" but that would be "Viva La Gente." They want to make up words, convince us their words have special meaning and that we cannot use a literal translation. It's up to you to figure out their agenda and why they never say it in English, ever...."Many MEChA operatives are College trained in "Ethnic Studies" to manipulate words and at taxpayer expense to boot.. They try to change the literal meaning of words because they need to be victims rather than honest brokers. They say it means "Long Live The People" but that would be "Viva La Gente." They want to make up words, convince us their words have special meaning and that we cannot use a literal translation. It's up to you to figure out their agenda and why they never say it in English, ever.... Ask them to say it in English - and watch them turn blue instead.

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