A “Fire Dyer” rally was held on Aug. 1 to mark Fresno Police Department (FPD) Chief Jerry Dyer’s 11th year. According to a press release from the Brown Berets, the group that organized this event, victims of police harassment and brutality, allies, friends and families are calling for a complete restructuring of the FPD’s practices and procedures. Their statement said that they are demanding the immediate firing or retirement of Dyer for “continuously violating the rights of and terrorizing the community of Fresno. Jerry Dyer has personally created an institution that encourages racism and sexism to run rampant with no consequences at all; racism and sexism that both himself and his officers have perpetuated.”
The rally took place in front of police headquarters on the Mariposa Mall in downtown Fresno. According to the Brown Berets’ press statement:
Since August 2001, there have been over 50 individuals fatally shot by on duty police officers that could have been avoided if the procedures and practices of FPD, under the leadership of Dyer, would have changed sooner than later. Additionally, most of those officers involved in the shootings are repeat shooters and are still on duty, 25 to be exact, according to investigative reporter Ali Winston (Fresno Cops Involved in Repeat Shootings Still on Duty, Colorlines, April 26, 2010). There have been no serious consequences for Jerry Dyer’s gross lack of leadership which is reflected by the lack of respect shown by his officers to the community of Fresno, in particular low income people and people of color. This has to stop and firing Dyer is the first of many steps.