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Crime
Video Shows Alleged Porchfest Anti-Palestinian Hate Crime
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 1 month ago on
April 29, 2024
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A witness video showed an alleged hate crime at Tower Porchfest in Fresno on Saturday. (GV Wire/Screengrab)

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As neighbors gathered Saturday for Fresno’s annual Tower Porchfest, a belligerent man began verbally abusing three women at a pro-Palestinian booth, a witness said.

The verbal altercation soon turned physical, and Fresno police arrested Francisco Samaniego, 49, of Fresno, at the neighborhood festival dedicated to music and community. He now faces a hate crime charge among other counts.

A witness tells GV Wire that the women had set up an informational Free Palestine booth at a participating house. That is when Samaniego alleged was yelling profanity at one of the women.

“I heard him yelling and threatening people that they deserve to die, if you’re Arab, Muslim, or you support Palestine,” witness Amy Oakley said. “He ran up and hit (a victim) in the face and knocked her glasses off.”

Samaniego faces a felony robbery count and three misdemeanor counts of battery, vandalism, and violation of civil rights.

Screengrab images from an alleged hate crime attack in Fresno. (GV Wire/screengrab)

Witness Captures Video

Francisco Samaniego (Fresno police)

The incident started around 4 p.m. at a home at Floradora and Linden avenues that was participating in the festival.

Oakley heard the commotion from her balcony overlooking the street. She started shooting video.

She said Samaniego then grabbed another woman by the hair, dragging her in the street. Two other women helped defend her.

The video picks up where Samaniego allegedly engages in a physical confrontation with three women. One woman appears to use a Taser on him. A zapping noise can be heard. “Get out of here,” one woman dressed in black can be heard saying, as the melee spilled out in the street.

“He was so full of rage that they Tased him at least four times, and he was still going after him,” Oakley said.

Two men, which Oakley described as Samaniego’s friends, pulled him away. Police arrested Samaniego a short time later.

As Samaniego allegedly attacked one of the women, he grabbed her phone and wallet.

“(One victim) followed at a safe distance trying to retrieve her phone, and he ended up throwing that on the ground and smashing it. And then he chucked her wallet down the street. And then when she bent over to grab it, he ripped her keffiyeh (scarf),” Oakley said.

Police Chief Reacts

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, at a Monday news conference, wants the “community to feel supported.”

The Fresno community does not stand for hate or lawlessness, and we will continue to work with all members of our city to make sure everyone can express their beliefs without fear of violence,” Balderrama said.

Balderrama was aware of the video.

News Conference

“Although (hate crimes) are very hard to prove … in this particular case, we had video evidence. We had several witnesses and victims of the crime who cooperated with police for us to be able to make the arrests,” Balderrama said.

Balderrama said Fresno police have investigated nine hate crimes this year. He speculated that disagreements over political philosophies lead to an increase in such crimes.

Police, in a news release, indicated Samaniego was believed to be intoxicated.

“I don’t see very many people make great decisions while they’re under the influence of alcohol. And that certainly played a role in escalating this incident,” Balderrama said.

Perea: Deeply Troubled

Councilmember Annalisa Perea, who represents the district said the incident “deeply troubled” her.

“The altercation, fueled by bigotry and intolerance against the Palestinian Community, stands in stark contrast to the values in both our Tower District community and the broader City of Fresno,” Perea said in a news release.

“(Samaniego’s) arrest sends a clear message that hate crimes will not be tolerated in our city, and those responsible will be held accountable for their actions,” Perea said.

Porchfest Organizers ‘Disturbed’

Porchfest organizers released a statement Sunday on Facebook, providing some context.

“We do want to address an incident that occurred yesterday amidst a peaceful day of music and fun. We were deeply disturbed to hear about a hate-motivated attack at one of the porches. According to reports, a man allegedly espousing white nationalist views assaulted three women for hosting a Palestinian booth to raise awareness of the situation in Gaza. This type of hateful violence is completely unacceptable and has no place at Tower Porchfest or in our community,” the post said.

Jail records show Samaniego was released shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday morning. No court date has been scheduled.

A phone number listed for Samaniego’s business was disconnected.

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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

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