MERCED, Calif. (KSEE) — A controversial video has been making its way around social media
showing a Merced city councilmember participating in a chokehold demonstration at a protest.
Now, the council member is defending his actions amid calls for his resignation.
At a demonstration organized by the groups Merced People of Color and Merced Black Alliance on Sunday, city council members addressed the crowd, but some were unhappy with the answers from council member Fernando Echevarria.
“He was kinda telling us to uh, we needed to make the change. And we kept telling him, we could protest every single day but we don’t have the authority to make that change. ’cause he’s able to, “Nicholas Cincotta, demonstrator said.
Then, a controversial moment caught on camera, as Echevarria had a man demonstrate a chokehold on him.
The council member says he was trying to use his police experience to clarify a question from the crowd.
“The public asked what is the difference between the carotid artery hold and a chokehold. I explained the difference. There is none, there is no difference,” Merced City councilmember, Fernando Echevarria said.
The moderator of the demonstration says Sunday’s incident was a continuation of problematic behavior from Echevarria as an elected leader, saying he’s been inappropriate in council meetings as well.
“I know he has done many things for south Merced, but attacking public members is not ok in any sense. And at some point, we have to say enough is enough. You will not continue to degrade members of our community and make them feel like they’re any less than what they are, “Gabriela Spiva with Merced People of Color.
Now one of the groups that planned the event Merced people of color is calling for the Echevarria to resign, asking supporters to come to the next city council meeting on Monday wearing all black.