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Fresno Leaders Call for Justice, Peace With Chauvin Verdict



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Hours before the news broke that Derek Chauvin was found guilty in the death of George Floyd, a group of Fresno pastors and city leaders encouraged a peaceful response from the community.

Chauvin was convicted on three criminal counts of second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter by a Minneapolis jury Tuesday afternoon.

“We also ask that as we respond, that we would respond in a way that is peaceful, in a way that is nonviolent and in a way that is conducive to changing the elements of our justice system that have not always been fair to people of color,” said Pastor B.T. Lewis of Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church.

Members of the African American Clergy Caucus called for the news conference, inviting Mayor Jerry Dyer, District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and other law enforcement leaders.

Chauvin, a former police officer, is being tried for the killing of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis.

Dyer recognized he could not truly know the African American experience.

“I stand here today as a mayor. I stand here today as a white man. And so it is impossible for me to understand the hurt and the pain that a Black man or Black woman feels in our community or in America. But I want them to know that we stand with them as the mayor of this city, we stand together, united for justice, for peace,” Dyer said.

Held at the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. at Courthouse Park, Pastor D.J. Criner evoked the legendary civil rights leader in the quest for justice for African Americans.

“We must not allow our creative protest to generate acts of physical violence, no matter how painful the moment, how unsettling the outcome, how divisive they are, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting criminal and injustice will unite its social justice,” Criner said.

Fresno and clergy leaders meet at the MLK bust at Courthouse Park. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

Police Are Ready

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama says 2020 has changed everything.

“Policing will never be the same again. We must make improvements. We must change the way we do our jobs, and we must better serve our communities,” Balderrama said.

He said there is no intelligence to suggest there are plans for violent protest or anyone else that could interrupt the peace.

“We’re simply not expecting any civil disobedience. We are prepared. We do have a plan. But my hope is in the Fresno community, as we have handled these types of situations before, that it will be done so with peace and with just respect towards one another,” Balderrama said.

No protests have been announced as of Tuesday afternoon.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email