Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
No River Park Riot. Just Quincy Pondexter and the Community.
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 years ago on
June 3, 2020

Share

The most dangerous thing at River Park on Tuesday afternoon was a skateboarder rolling along the sidewalk.

As 4 p.m. came and passed, a threatened riot at the shopping center in northeast Fresno never materialized.

“I believe it was somebody’s attempt to divide this community.  I know for a fact it wasn’t part of the NAACP or Black Lives Matter. I believe it was somebody that wanted to create tension in our community. And what we saw as it did just the opposite, it brought people together.” — Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall

Instead, nearly 100 members of the community joined Fresno police to keep the shopping center and its patrons safe.

Rumors circulated online about a violent protest at River Park on Tuesday afternoon to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Those rumors were quickly denounced by Fresno’s black community, including leaders from the NAACP Fresno State chapter, which had organized a 3,000-strong rally at City Hall on Sunday.

Community members stand guard at Ruth’s Chris Steak House at exactly 4 p.m. Tuesday, the time the alleged riot was supposed to materialize. (GV Wire/David Taub)

The Community Comes to Protect at River Park

Organized by Pastor D.J. Criner, and businessmen Chris Milton and Terrance Frazier, the group met at 3 p.m. in front of Edwards Theater. The gathering included members of the faith community, elected leaders, but mainly community members who didn’t want the memory of George Floyd to be destroyed by looters and agitators.

“Our children’s futures matter. So, Father, bless us, Lord. Our color, our black skin, Father God, is important to us because you gave it to us. We want to make sure that legacy does not get destroyed by a group of white supremacists.” — Pastor D.J. Criner

Police Chief Andy Hall asked Criner to lead the group in prayer.

“Our children’s futures matter. So, Father, bless us, Lord. Our color, our black skin, Father God, is important to us because you gave it to us,” Criner prayed. “We want to make sure that legacy does not get destroyed by a group of white supremacists.”

After a meeting in one of the shopping center’s community rooms, the group stationed in front of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the gathering spot of the alleged riot. The guardians then spread out to other areas of River Park to keep watch.

Danielle Jones said she’s been protesting at events for 30 years.

“It’s good to see this size of crowd. I’m here to protect businesses,” Jones said.

Pondexter Joins Community

NBA veteran and Fresno native Quincy Pondexter volunteered his time to keep his community safe.

“Everything is so peaceful and we’re trying to keep it that way,” Pondexter said. “This is our neighborhood, this where we grew up. We want to be a helping hand and make sure everything stays the course. (We want to be) heard. But at the same time, we want to make sure everything is peaceful and no one hurts our city.”

Elected officials such as Fresno City Councilmembers Mike Karbassi and Garry Bredefeld and Congressman Jim Costa attended as well.

Hoaxer Under Investigation

Hall said Fresno stood out for its dedication to peaceful protest, while much of the rest of the country has experienced riots and looting.

“It’s something special going on here. We should embrace it,” Hall said.

The police chief said that he never put much legitimacy in the riot threats.

I believe it was somebody’s attempt to divide this community.  I know for a fact it wasn’t part of the NAACP or Black Lives Matter,” Hall said. “I believe it was somebody that wanted to create tension in our community. And what we saw as it did just the opposite, it brought people together.”

Hall said the case is under investigation, working with “federal resources.”

“We believe we have somebody identified. We’re still working through it,” Hall said.

Possible criminal charges include “terrorist threats or other violations or maybe parole or probation.”

In addition to River Park, Hall said he had uniformed and undercover officers at other Fresno shopping centers.

Many Stores Closed, Boarded Up

Anticipating the worst, several stores boarded up their storefronts and closed early for the day. Target shut down at 3 p.m.

The shopping center gave stores the option on how to operate for the day.

“It’s sad. (Stores) just open their doors after COVID-19, and they were just starting to get a little bit back into the groove,” River Park spokeswoman Tracy Kashian said.

Watch: Why Some Stores Boarded up Tuesday

DON'T MISS

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

DON'T MISS

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

DON'T MISS

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

DON'T MISS

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

DON'T MISS

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

DON'T MISS

LeBron James Rants at NBA’s Replay Center for Calls, Lakers Lose on Buzzer-Beater

DON'T MISS

Winn Sharp Again, Conforto Homers as Giants Clip Mets

DON'T MISS

CA Lawmakers Reject Bill Cracking Down on Utilities Spending Customers’ Money

DON'T MISS

What Do Supreme Court Justices Say About Homelessness?

DON'T MISS

49ers GM Hopes to Get Brandon Aiyuk Contract Extension Done Sooner Rather Than Later

UP NEXT

What Do Supreme Court Justices Say About Homelessness?

UP NEXT

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson Pledged $10M for Maui Wildfire Survivors. They Gave Much More.

UP NEXT

15 People Injured When Tram Collides With Guardrail at Universal Studios Theme Park

UP NEXT

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

UP NEXT

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

UP NEXT

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

UP NEXT

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

UP NEXT

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

UP NEXT

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

UP NEXT

Abandoned Pup LB Finds Hope and Healing. He’s Available for Adoption at Mell’s Mutts.

David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

59 mins ago

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

1 hour ago

LeBron James Rants at NBA’s Replay Center for Calls, Lakers Lose on Buzzer-Beater

1 hour ago

Winn Sharp Again, Conforto Homers as Giants Clip Mets

2 hours ago

CA Lawmakers Reject Bill Cracking Down on Utilities Spending Customers’ Money

2 hours ago

What Do Supreme Court Justices Say About Homelessness?

2 hours ago

49ers GM Hopes to Get Brandon Aiyuk Contract Extension Done Sooner Rather Than Later

5 hours ago

Judge Rejects Changing the Name of California’s Trans Youth Ballot Measure

5 hours ago

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson Pledged $10M for Maui Wildfire Survivors. They Gave Much More.

18 hours ago

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

18 hours ago

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

BERLIN – A man who works for a prominent German far-right lawmaker in the European Parliament has been arrested on suspicion of spying...

5 mins ago

5 mins ago

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

9 mins ago

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

32 mins ago

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

59 mins ago

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

1 hour ago

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

1 hour ago

LeBron James Rants at NBA’s Replay Center for Calls, Lakers Lose on Buzzer-Beater

2 hours ago

Winn Sharp Again, Conforto Homers as Giants Clip Mets

2 hours ago

CA Lawmakers Reject Bill Cracking Down on Utilities Spending Customers’ Money

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend