Fresno Councilmembers launch police reform commission


FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Thursday morning Mayor Lee Brand and City Council President Miguel Arias launched a commission for police reform that will make recommendations to the council within 90 days.

This announcement came after a presentation from the Fresno State NAACP during their city council meeting.

The Fresno State NAACP presented their list of demands on changes they want to see happen in the city of Fresno. 

Their presentation started with an 8 minute and 46 second long video illustrating the time a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck. 

Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias said shortly after the presentation he launched a commission for police reform with Mayor Lee Brand, Esmeralda Soria, and Luis Chavez. 

“They didn’t just say we are mad they said there is a problem and here is a series of solutions that has worked in other places to improve the community public safety,” said Arias. 

The Fresno State NAACP listed solutions that the new commission will take into consideration. Like adding community involvement in the hiring process of the new police chief.

Also reducing the percentage of the total city budget that goes to the police department from over 50% down to 45%. 

“A percent reduction in the police department not in public safety. What they are suggesting is public safety can be achieved in other ways besides funding the police department,” said Arias. 

The commission will be led by former City Council Member Oliver Baines.
After the announcement councilmembers were able to voice their thoughts on the new matter. 

Conservative councilmember Gary Bredefeld said he realizes these types of conversations need to happen. 

“This is a big moment and I think we are going to need the moment,” said Bredefeld. “I think we are going to all come together and address things and it will be a difficult conversation there will be things we agree upon there will be things we don’t agree upon but that’s what communication is.”

Like councilmember Bredefeld, Councilmemeber Mike Karbassi said it’s time for these conversations too. 

Karbassi said he is hopeful the commission will come up with good solutions in the 90 days. 

“My goal is for this committee to come together with law enforcement with members of the black community with members from the entire community and come up with solutions that can actually pass a democratic process and get enacted,” said Karbassi.

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