FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Despite threats of violence in Fresno’s River Park, Tuesday did not see crowds stealing and smashing windows but instead close to 200 Fresno community leaders standing together.
“I think this is what makes Fresno special,” said Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall. “People like this. Our community leaders standing against violence and I think this is huge for our community. We are on the beacon on the hill and I am so proud of everyone.”
Chief Hall was joined by local activist Chris Milton, Congressman Jim Costa, and Pastor D.J. Criner.
“We made phone calls,” said Milton. “We sent messages for the last two days to show that we are going to plant our flag. You can do what you want in your communities but we work together here and we are going to stand in solidarity.”
Milton said it was encouraging to see local officials in attendance like Hall, Costa, as well as city councilmembers Mike Karbassi and Garry Bredefeld in attendance, but also called on them to make changes locally.
Local man Fred Zepeda brought his son Jacobi Zepeda.
“As a Latino raising a kid who is half African American, some conversations that I have with my kid not all families will have to have with their kid,” said Fred. “So this is going to hopefully help him out and put it into perspective as he grows older. Hopefully, he will thank me and say my dad was doing the right thing.”
The group watched over the shopping center for hours and witnessed no looting or violence. Police patrols continued to watch over several local shopping centers throughout the night.