FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Fresno’s next mayor weighed in on the growing unrest and tension following the death of George Floyd.
Jerry Dyer will not take office until January but said Wednesday that the community is already looking to him for action.
He commended Fresno for keeping demonstrations peaceful and believes it is because of strong community bonds.
“We are unique I think as a major city across the county and the fact that we have built strong relationships over the years with leaders of the community, the faith community and it’s those relationships that allow us to get through times of crisis like this.”
Dyer said he’s seen the full spectrum – from protests to riots – and these demonstrations over George Floyd’s death feel different.
“I don’t know anyone who didn’t feel this incident was absolutely wrong and I think that’s the difference today. And people in government, myself included, are more than willing to sit down, listen, and make whatever changes are necessary for the betterment of the community,” he said.
Former President Barack Obama called on elected officials Wednesday to follow through with his 21st Century Policing Model.
“Today I am urging every mayor in this country to review your use of force policy with members of your community and commit to report on planned reforms,” he said.
Dyer said the next steps come with continued efforts to build trust within the community.
“When I was a police chief looking at it from the inside out I always wanted to do better. I wanted to make sure that people trusted us. It hurt when I found out certain people didn’t trust us. And now going from the outside in as the mayor I’m going to have more of an opportunity to perhaps interact with people, get their true feelings so we can make whatever changes are necessary,” Dyer said.
As Chief of Police, Dyer was known for being proactive in dealing with racial unrest, often reaching out to local clergy to calm tensions.
When volatile protests broke out at a pre-election rally for now-President Donald Trump, Dyer walked into the crowd to calm protesters.