Blue Lives Matter. Hundreds March in Fresno to Support PD. - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Blue Lives Matter. Hundreds March in Fresno to Support PD.



Image of Back the Blue marchers in Fresno, California
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When hundreds gathered in downtown Fresno on Thursday afternoon for a march to support police, it was short on ceremony but long on appreciation.

Carrying American flags, “Support the Blue” flags, and various political messages on signs, about 300 gathered at City Hall. They marched down Tulare Street with a brief stop at police headquarters.

“This has been one of the highlights of my life to be out here with all these people that are in agreement. As you can see, this was a very safe march. It was nonviolent,” said organizer Tom Hardin, a retired police officer.

Marching on the Streets

“My motivation was talking to people about what’s going on in our country and not feeling like I was doing anything but complaining. I wanted to do something.”Tom Hardin, march organizer

Fresno police provided traffic control, stopping traffic on Tulare and N streets as the marchers — who mainly stayed on the sidewalk — passed.

One woman and her son told a bicycle officer “I love you.” The officer replied in kind.

The group then headed to the peace officers’ memorial at Courthouse Park. Hardin and Todd Frazier, president of the Fresno Police Officers’ Association union, gave short speeches.

Frazier asked for the benefit of the doubt whenever a police video appears on social media.

“We’re going to be a better department. … We try to do our jobs the best we can, right. As effectively as we possibly can,” Frazier told a receptive audience gathered around the memorial.

Hardin said didn’t want to be a bystander as he saw his profession under attack.

“My motivation was talking to people about what’s going on in our country and not feeling like I was doing anything but complaining. I wanted to do something. I thought that this was a great place to start,” Hardin told the media after the speeches.

Tom Hardin speaks to a crowd of about 300 at Courthouse Park, supporting police. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

Mayor-Elect’s Sister Attends

Diane Dyer, the sister of former Fresno police chief and current mayor-elect Jerry Dyer, attended the rally. She is a former Fresno police officer.

“(Police) are the backbone of the city and without police, what are you gonna do?” Dyer said. “We stayed silent for so long. I don’t think we should be afraid of the other side. All lives matter. But there needs to be some kind of police in our community. Without the police, it’s gonna be chaos. It’s gonna be worse. We need to unite.”

Robert Lightfoot, a retired Fresno police sergeant whose wife is with the department, says it’s harder to be an officer now than during his tenure.

“Because of social media, because of cameras, because of various other ways of communicating … it’s more transparent now, which I think is actually for the better. But it can hinder investigations and it can hinder officers in their work,” Lightfoot said.

Black Lives Matter

As the marchers gathered at Fresno City Hall, the faded remnants of the “Black Lives Matter” street art remained on P Street.

Hardin said he supported Black Lives Matter in a literal sense.

“Obviously (I) believe that Black Lives Matter. I love everyone. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of us and he was color blind,” Hardin said. “I don’t necessarily believe in the organization itself. But I love all people of all colors.”

About five protesters gathered in front of City Hall, some carrying signs decrying police brutality. They mainly kept to themselves.

A downtown Fresno police bicycle officer stops to chat with marchers on Thursday, July 23, 2020. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

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