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Here is a sampling of what Central Valley elected leaders said about the George Floyd death, and rallies taking place in Fresno:

Lee Brand, Fresno Mayor

On the weekend protests in Fresno:

To the thousands of people who gathered along the streets of Fresno over the past three days to pray and march and speak out against injustice — thank you for showing the world that we can come together as one voice and challenge the status quo in peaceful and powerful way.  I am also proud of the way the organizers of yesterday’s event, the thousands who marched downtown and our police officers responded, showing dignity and respect for each other.

“But we can’t let this simply fade away.  Let us join together and focus on supporting what is objectively right and denouncing what is objectively wrong, whether it is racism or intimidation in any form.” — Fresno Mayor Lee Brand

Once again, Fresno has been touched by the better angels of our nature and used a tragedy to achieve a triumph.  Together, we can overcome any problem as long as we pledge to continue the conversation in earnest and work together in harmony to bring real change to our community.

On George Floyd:

The killing of George Floyd was senseless and unjustifiable, and I condemn both the actions and the inactions of the police officers in Minneapolis who caused it and didn’t stop it.  The death of yet another African-American man at the hands of people sworn to protect him is one more example of the deep wound in our nation that continues to weep in spite of our sincere attempts to bring healing and understanding to this problem.

Instead of choosing to let this latest outrage deepen the racial, political and economic divides in our country during this most challenging time, I call on our community to join together to unite against injustice.  It is natural to feel pain, anger, bitterness and frustration.  Every community, including Fresno, should express those strong emotions and demand that we all do better, and I support the right to come together as one voice to march and demonstrate and pray for justice, just as our community did last night, in peaceful and respectful ways.

But we can’t let this simply fade away.  Let us join together and focus on supporting what is objectively right and denouncing what is objectively wrong, whether it is racism or intimidation in any form.  Let us keep the conversation going in the weeks and months ahead because Fresno has an amazing history of uniting to care and connect with each other during the worst of times.  My hope is that this injustice will strengthen our resolve to end these kinds of senseless tragedies once and for all.

Photo of a protester writing "Black Lives Matter" in chalk on a downtown street in Fresno, California.

A protester writes in chalk on a downtown Fresno street during a march expressing outrage over the death of George Floyd on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Jerry Dyer, Fresno Mayor-elect

My heart breaks over what is occurring across our nation. We have witnessed a grave injustice and abuse of authority by police officers in Minneapolis that has led to the tragic death of George Floyd. I offer my deepest condolences and prayers to the Floyd family.

“I am committed to working with all of those who have a common interest in uniting our city toward One Fresno.” — Jerry Dyer, Fresno mayor-elect

The actions of these officers have placed police officers across the country in grave danger. They have endangered countless communities, pushed livelihoods to the brink, and made the job of peace officers that much more difficult.

The emotions of outrage being expressed on the streets of America are understandable. I recognize that these emotions are fueled by a deep-seated anger in our society over past injustices.

It is so important that these emotions not turn into acts of violence in our city, as we have seen across the country. The minute that happens, the memory of George Floyd is forgotten, and the message that needs to be heard will be be lost as innocent lives are endangered.

I am calling upon all who are participating in protests in our city to express themselves in a peaceful manner and not allow outside agitators and opportunists to destroy our city and devalue this tragedy.

We have made considerable progress in our city over the years, and built strong relationships along the way. Let us continue to build upon those relationships as we work together to address issues of concern.  I am committed to working with all of those who have a common interest in uniting our city toward One Fresno.

Andy Hall, Fresno Police Chief

Speaking to the media after Sunday’s protest:

Today we had a an organized demonstration in the city of Fresno to my knowledge is one of the largest demonstrations we had in the city at least in my 42 year career.

We estimated between 3,000-3,500 people attended this demonstration and I’ll be honest with you I can’t tell you how proud I am of our community.

A lot of people call Fresno a poor city. We don’t have a beach, we don’t have a lake or a river. But if you value a city by its people, we’re one of the richest cities in the nation.

I just can’t tell you how proud I am. And I heard their words and we’re ready to reach out to those organizers and start working the community to build a better, stronger community.

You look at other cities across the nation. They’re struggling. They’re  struggling with their police departments and their communities.

What I saw today was truly beautiful. Our community came together. But we did hear their words and they do have concerns and I’m going to listen and we’re going to work together.

Margret Mims, Fresno County Sheriff

Via Twitter:

Responsibility of law enforcement personnel includes intervening when necessary. Minnesota officers should have done that and stopped the inappropriate use of force being used on George Floyd. Including local charges, DOJ investigation is necessary.

Lisa Smittcamp, Fresno County District Attorney

I would like to publicly offer my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. George Floyd of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The atrocious and violent way that his life was taken is not acceptable and the officers involved in causing his death should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Demonstrations against this type of behavior are understandable, acceptable, and can be productive.

However, violence and committing additional crimes is NOT acceptable.

Fresno — please honor the memory of George Floyd by keeping the focus on him and do not let his death be in vain. Do not distract from his memory with acts of violence and rage.

Protest peacefully. Express yourself effectively and emphatically without committing further crimes. Do not loot. Do not set fires. Do not hurt another human being or destroy another family. You can be angry without destructive behavior.

I am angry that Mr. Floyd was killed. In response to this, I will continue to seek justice for victims and ensure that we insist on a system that is fair, just, and demands equality. When those standards are not met, we will hold those who fail to be accountable for their actions.

Please join me in praying for the soul of Mr. Floyd, may he rest in peace.

Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno

Americans have watched the deaths of black men and women like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and so many more, and questioned who we are as a nation. We’ve offered compassion and expressed outrage. And yet, more incidents happen. It’s heartbreaking. And appalling.

Justice must prevail if we are to prove that we truly embrace our founding principle that “all men are created equal.” I commend the Minneapolis Police Chief for swiftly firing the officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death. But we need to do more as a nation to improve social and economic justice for all.

So today, I ask all Americans to look within and reflect on how we come together — in memory of George Floyd, his family and all of our citizens who have felt the injustice of racial prejudice. It’s the only way we can be that “shining city on the hill.”

For a nation we all love, let us work together to heal our divisions. I’m working on a plan to engage on this topic over the next year in my district. That’s what we must do. We can start making tomorrow better, today.

Todd Suntrapak, President/CEO, Valley Children’s Healthcare

The values of Valley Children’s call for us to live by a set of shared standards, driven by excellence, compassion, heart, care for all, and integrity. Those same values also, from time to time, call for us to speak out when we witness events in our community and in our country that violate those principles. We have raised our voice against school shootings, child abuse and gun violence.

“The events of the last few days — and the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis — are another such occasion where we cannot stand by. We cannot stand silent.”Todd Suntrapak, president/CEO, Valley Children’s Healthcare

The events of the last few days — and the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis — are another such occasion where we cannot stand by. We cannot stand silent.

As we watch the anguish, fear and violence spread across our own community and in cities across this country, it is my hope that each of us will stop for a moment and examine our own conscience and our own limits of acceptance of the injustices we are witnessing. This country was founded on the principle that we are all created equal, that we all deserve a chance to succeed, and that when the rights of one man or woman are diminished, the rights of all men and women are in jeopardy.

It is said that ‘children learn what they live.’ What are our children learning by living through what they are seeing today? As caring adults, we owe it to our children – our community’s children – to show them that there is something greater from adults who care. There is tolerance, acceptance and kindness. They see that every day at Valley Children’s. They deserve to see it in their own neighborhoods, too.

There is no question that the struggle we are seeing is much larger than Valley Children’s Healthcare. Maybe it even seems farther away because much of it is happening somewhere else. But it is also happening right here where we live, every day when there is an injustice expressed because of the color of someone’s skin or where they have come from.

It is contrary to our values as Americans and very clearly contrary to the values of Valley Children’s Healthcare.

If children, in fact, do learn what they live, let us each commit to show them lessons of equality, justice, tolerance and kindness.

Miguel Arias, Fresno City Council President

Via Facebook:

Today’s Justice for floyed#blacklifematter event was reassuring and INSPIRING for so many reasons. The 84 year Mrs. Rangel that MARCHED for BLM just like she did for Cesar Chavez, the young organizers that demonstrated to a country burning with anger how to speak with many faces but One PEACEFUL Voice, the pastors and leaders that owned our RESPONSIBILITY for everyone’s safety, the journalist and photographs that documented HISTORY, the thousands of DIVERSE people that became ALLIES of our brothers and sisters that are hurting and deserve change, the political leaders that showed up to LISTEN as we prepare for CHANGE. Fresno our FUTURE is young, bright, loving, strong, and diverse. Thank you, Fresno!

Paul Caprioglio, Fresno City Councilman

On the downtown Fresno protest Sunday, via Twitter:

Garry Bredefeld, Fresno City Councilman

Via Facebook:

As we all continue to struggle with the heart break, anger and outrage over the senseless and brutal killing of George Floyd, I want to just express the pride and gratitude I feel regarding the protests that took place in Fresno over the last several days and culminated in the downtown march yesterday. We share the same hopes and dreams for fairness, equal treatment for everyone under the law, that legal justice truly be blind, and that racism be eradicated wherever and whenever it emerges.

I believe the marches and protests in Fresno advanced that cause. They were powerful, emotional, and peaceful. Fresno set the standard for the rest of the country.

I also want to express my thanks to our Police Chief Andy Hall, and all the police officers of FPD who did an amazing job keeping everyone safe. The absolute majority of our police officers are professional and risk their lives every day to keep us all safe. It’s evil people, like the four officers in Minnesota, who hide behind badges and commit atrocities that must be removed from law enforcement, held accountable, and face justice to the maximum extent of the law.

We still have much work to do in our country to ensure no one is ever treated unfairly because of the color of their skin, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. The protests and powerful march in Fresno yesterday has ensured that work is far from over and will definitely continue.

Mike Boudreaux, Tulare County Sheriff

Via Facebook:

There is No one that hates bad cops more than good cops. Good cops value their communities everyday fighting corruption and wrongdoing.

Law enforcement across this nation protect and serve. They suffer when bad cops overshadow their good deeds. Don’t let the actions of one represent them all.

Peaceful protests are always supported by law enforcement. Criminal actions causing harm and danger is not a peaceful protest.

Honest hard working men and women in uniform care for your safety and fight for what is right everyday. Law enforcement cares.

Regardless of your position we will respond and provide safety even to those who hate us.

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