A protest against police brutality and racism held in downtown Bakersfield Friday night turned tense when a car drove through a crowd of people and police later dispersed the protesters.

About 500 demonstrators turned out in response to the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. It's one of multiple protests that have broken out across the country in recent days concerning the issue.

Demonstrators gathered downtown around 4:30 p.m. migrating back and forth across Truxtun Avenue from the police headquarters and City Hall North.

Chants echoed throughout the evening with statements such as “black lives matter,” “hands up, don’t shoot” and “I can’t breathe.”

“(I came out here) because I am a black person in this community. We keep arguing about the same problem and it’s not going to get fixed,” said demonstrator Naomi Thompson.

Bakersfield native Marion Deloth said he joined the protest because he's spent his entire life fighting racism and injustice. His father was one of the original delegates of the United Farm Workers, he said.

“I was born in the ’50s and have seen racism and injustice my whole life,” Deloth said.

“Until black, white, Hispanics come together, nothing is going to change.”

Hours later the protest took a violent turn after a vehicle reportedly ran into a group of people at the corner of Truxtun Avenue and Eye Street. According two eyewitness accounts, the vehicle started honking but not in support of the protesters.

"I guess he wasn't with us," said 19-year-old Priscilla Carballo, a resident of southwest Bakersfield. 

Carballo said the car accelerated and then turned around and came back more than a block later heading east on Truxtun Avenue before protesters began hitting it with water bottles, said 17-year-old Alex Olea of southwest Bakersfield.

He said an ambulance arrived about 15 minutes later to tend to at least one person who got hit on the initial pass.

BPD could not be reached to confirm the incident.

At 8:40 p.m., a SWAT vehicle and about six BPD patrol cars arrived in front of department headquarters with sirens blaring. 

Officers ruled it an unlawful assembly and threatened to arrest those protesting. Officers lined Truxtun Avenue about 50 feet from the demonstrators, who raised their arms in protest not ceding the street.

Just before 9 p.m., officers began moving eastward and the protesters retreated.

“The assault on black Americans has been going on for over 400 years and we have to take a stand,” demonstrator Jamere Molton said earlier in the evening. “It’s not always just racism, classism is big as well, but the killing of unarmed black men sparks this.”

Victoria Barton, a local photographer, said she's covered many demonstrations throughout her entire life in Bakersfield. The protest on Friday was the largest she had seen.

On Friday, Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry issued a statement regarding Floyd’s killing and condemned the involved officer’s actions.

“The death of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis is horrific. The actions by the police officers in this video is inexcusable,” Terry said. “I unequivocally condemn what they did. I believe the (Minneapolis) mayor, chief of police and prosecuting attorney are doing the right thing by conducting a criminal investigation.

“The behaviors of these officers does not meet my expectations of any police officer in our country. Police officers have a legal, moral, and ethical obligation to use only proper methods of arrest.”

Additionally, Terry said that after seeing the video of Floyd’s killing, he made sure that it was made clear to all BPD officers that it was unacceptable.

“While our officers have already been well trained in this area, upon seeing the Minneapolis video I immediately directed that our training staff review this incident with every Bakersfield police officer for a clear understanding that such actions are not acceptable in our society,” Terry said.

At least one demonstrator was pleased with what Terry had to say.

“I love what the chief of police said this morning. I believe he spoke from his heart,” said Mary Santana. “We all should be treated equally and if someone does something wrong they should be held accountable.”

Earlier in the afternoon, the Kern County Superior Court suspended operations and the county offices sent employees home early in anticipation of the potential protest, according to Megan Person, the county’s chief communications officer.

The city of Bakersfield’s department heads spoke with BPD and decided to allow all city employees working downtown to leave by 4 p.m., according to Joseph Conroy, the city’s public information officer.

The Californian’s John Cox contributed to this report.

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(39) comments

Wretch

Show integrity Californian! Stop allowing the racists in this town to celebrate violence in these comments. Immediately remove accounts belonging to people saying protestors should be shot or ran over. This is unacceptable.

Masked 2020

‘Burn, Baby, Burn!’: The Watts Riot 50 Years Later

Jonathan Bean

Research Fellow, Independent Institute

August 11, 2015

3:57 PM ET

Fifty years ago, on a hot August day in the Watts district of Los Angeles, a white police officer pulled over a black motorist for drunk driving. That encounter sparked a riot that lasted five days and resulted in the destruction of 600 stores and over thirty deaths. Watts was the first major riot in the era of televised news; the nation was transfixed and wanted to know why blacks were rioting in what became known as the “looter’s playground.”

The political and media elite explained the “root cause” of the Watts unrest as black protest against “the system.” This became the standard explanation for three hundred riots that broke out in cities nationwide during the “long, hot summers” of 1965 to 1968. This script was replayed to explain the Rodney King riots in 1992 and more recent disturbances in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland.

REMUDA

Welcome to the BLM (Soros) playbook. Was working in West LA and with my boss visiting a SoCntrl LA client, observed first hand the "unrest".

Now, sadly, it's instant replay . . . thanks to the system and perps (both sides . . . but mostly the 'organized' at the bottom of 'The Swamp').

I reflect upon our local 'group meet' today with similar sentiments as DJT . . . . https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump

REMUDA

OMIGOSH . . . ! George Soros, Hillary and Barry . . . where are ya when we really need ya . . . !

Oh . . . OK . . . there ya are . . . over there in the corner with your checkbooks open . . . !

Oh well . . . " . . . it is difficult to argue with 'the stupid', since they tend to have so much more experience at being 'the stupid'."

Now . . . back to the 'REAL NEWS' . . . SPACEX JUST LAUNCHED SPECTACULARLY . . . !

(totally ignored by those idiots 'protesting' . . .WHAT . . . ?)

Fightingsideofme

The Brady Act and THE LIST needs to be used taken seriously , this is a law that has been on the books since1963 but the unions/associations representing LEO does not support it 100%.

The riots are not going to create transparency between the Public and LEA, the protesters only effect their community by causing this damage.

Get 10 millions signatures in each of these cities and set up a page to obtain donations for an attorney to make the BRADY ACT 100% enforceable in the United States with loss of BADGE PRIVILEGES to clean up this mess with people in uniform that commit crimes.

How much has the taxpayers spent on BODY CAMERAS for LEA ?

There should be 100% monitoring of the Officers during there shift with no ability to mute or turn the camera off.

If the Officer is doing nothing wrong they should not to worry about their actions, their personal and private cell phone usage should also be monitored during the time they are on the clock.

It is getting very expensive to allow LEO to continue to operate in this manner, this is similar to Rodney King event, police and fire abandon the city after the eruption and innocent people are injured with the need for the National Guard to restore order.

Desperado

Hopefully you never find yourself in a riot situation, but if you do, head for the nearest welfare office. You will be safe there. Thats the only building in town they won't burn down or loot...

RubySue

Were these community activists or paid protesters? It's amazing how quickly they were organized and able to come together and march against the death of George Floyd, or race disparity or something else entirely.

Unionpacific

It is strange that the way George Floyd died was due to suffocation where his life was crushed out of him. That symbol alone shows the might of power. But when the protestors chant "I can't breath" it is also applies to the mask. One protestor had a sign that read "we did not come from shackles to end up in handcuffs".

Unionpacific

It started with George Floyd and expanded to include all the injustice being done. The pressure cooker was the decrees of social distancing, masks and the worst of all, the economic shutdown. A perfect storm was brewed

She Dee

No amount of yelling, screaming or violent acts can bring a person back to life. I suggest the world move on and do something productive to change the way the criminals are treated. This is turning into a very heated debate and a tidy little race war....just like Charlie Manson once predicted. He did die in the local Kern County Hospital!!!... just saying'!

jtorczon

Good point, She Dee. They may as well not protest if that will only result in looting, rioting, arsons, vandalism and other criminal behavior.

She Dee

This is why permits are issued for organized protests. They have a plan, that plan is shared with the crowd and parameters are set to keep things as calm as humanly possible. I honestly think the high powered drugs that people are using in 2020 add to their inability to keep calm. There is a line when it comes to freedom and that line is now blurred.

YourNeighborhoodCommie

I agree we should have never entered the middle east since it wouldn't bring back the ones we lost during 9/11

2carpoor

I don;t think destroying businesses is in any way representative of the man being used as the excuse to destroy. What happened to George Floyd was horrible and unacceptable, Destroying hometown businesses only puts more people in the unemployment line and the business into question if they will be able to open. I don't think these actions do anything to enhance Mr. Floyd's image. Please respect the man.

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jtorczon

You stated exactly everything that is on my mind!

Independent Voter

Just when everyone is outraged by the treatment of that poor man who lost his life for no good reason at all - the opportunists and agitators appear to divert attention away from Mr. Floyd and on to their acts of domestic terrorism. Shameful that a moment of understanding and an opportunity for progress has been destroyed by people acting in their own interests and motivations rather than for a greater good.

jtorczon

Well said, IV. I have zero respect for those troublemakers and thieves and every respect for the cops. If anything, the cops should crack down on them and not let them commit crimes and get away with them. The hooligans are just stoking up the cop brutality BS so that they can neutralize the cops and carry out a crime spree.

She Dee

We, the People, may be missing the biggest part of these orchestrated events. What is going on that is NOT being reported by various Government Agencies???

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Wretch

You back the badge all the way through injustice and murder? These people have more to protest than the protests on mayday. You should back the American people not the American government.

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Zeppo

alexkelley: …..and I hope they start shooting the looters, as well. They have caused many, many small business owners to lose everything that they have worked for.

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Zeppo

Moardeeb: Prove it. He's done more for blacks than any in recent history. Quit watching CNN or MSNBC.

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Moardeeb

Was it Kevin McCarthy?

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Moardeeb

People have had it up to here. No more mister nice protesters.

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Moardeeb

And meanwhile, protester with guns stormed the Capitol building in Michigan a couple of weeks ago, all white of course, protesting a lockdown. Sure no problem.

JR

It looks like a lot more people than 500. It looks closer to a couple thousand, but that give the protesters too much credit and make the protest seem important.

Airdog44

When are you going to report the Coroners report and cause of death? You know the one that reported today that it was drugs and medical issues that killed him and not the officer...waiting?

PopTart

Is there an AutoZone downtown...?

JR

Is there a brain in your head,

Dog

Nope. Just Pop Tarts.

jtorczon

Are you referring to the person who seems to be going wild with the censorship of the comments?

YourNeighborhoodCommie

Are you an ex-cop?

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