Police chiefs from three Coachella Valley police departments will join local officials, faith leaders and activists Thursday to speak about racial justice in the aftermath of the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The 10:45 a.m. virtual news conference organized by Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, is aimed at finding a path forward toward “unity, justice, and equality in our community,” according to Ruiz’s office.
Those scheduled to attend include Palm Springs police Chief Bryan Reyes, Indio police Chief Mike Washburn, Cathedral City police Chief George Crum, along with local current and former city council members from the eastern Coachella Valley.
Amor Tolad of the local activist group Young Justice Advocates will also be on the line. The group organized the largest protest so far in the Coachella Valley Saturday at Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs, where roughly 1,000 people turned up for the “Enough is Enough” protest, which included a march into downtown.
Local actions against police brutality have continued through the week.
About 100 people gathered at Miles Avenue Park in Indio Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil in honor of George Floyd and other black lives lost to alleged police brutality. Members of the group “We Are Indio” were among those who wrote on a sidewalk the names of nearly 100 black people who were killed by police.
Washburn, the Indio police chief, told the crowd his department has rewritten 96 policies this year alone.
“Progressive agencies like Indio don’t wait for a crisis to make changes that we know need to be made,” he said.
On Monday, two peaceful protests took place in Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs.
Similar demonstrations, most of them problem-free, were held throughout the Coachella Valley last week and over the weekend, with the gathering Saturday at Ruth Hardy Park among the largest.
Those wishing to watch the news conference over Zoom video conferencing can attend at: us02web.zoom.us/j/83418918548?pwd=OEVGN1VwcHA4amNpSzlwcDFDU1NRdz09.
A protest against police brutality was underway in Coachella Wednesday night as local actions stemming from Floyd’s death continued in the Coachella Valley for a second week.
Demonstrators met at Veterans Memorial Park for a “peaceful protest honoring everyone that was killed due to police brutality,” according to the organizer.
The effort was organized by 21-year-old Nicole Smith of La Quinta, who has spearheaded several similar efforts across the valley since last week. She previously said her goal was to promote peaceful protesting that unites with law enforcement.
Members of the group “We Are Indio” were among those who wrote the names of nearly 100 black people who were killed on a sidewalk.
“It’s important to keep those legacies alive, let those folks in the community know that we’re here, that we stand for change and we demand change,” one of the event’s organizers, April Skinner, told KESQ. “It’s important as a community to know that we come together. We’re united as a front.”
Two other peaceful protests took place in the Coachella Valley on Monday, one in Palm Springs and the other in Desert Hot Springs. More than 100 people, including many children, showed up at Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs and later marched down Palm Canyon Drive. Earlier in the day, about two dozen protesters marched and played music along Palm Drive near Two Bunch Palms Trail in Desert Hot Springs, some toting signs saying “Latinx 4 Black Lives” and “You Can’t Kill Us All.”
Motorists passing by honked in support while police kept watch from afar.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors declined Tuesday to vote on a proposal to review policies for the sheriff’s department.
The motion was offered by Chairman V. Manuel Perez on Friday in the aftermath of Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and unrest across the nation.
Perez’s motion, which would have called for Sheriff Chad Bianco to meet with County CEO George Johnson to review the department’s use-of-force and other policies, did not get the required second it needed from another board member.
“I saw a man that was killed right there on the street on video while nobody intervened — while a cop was sitting on top of him,” Bianco told the board.
“That hurt everything I am, as a law enforcement officer and us as a law enforcement community, as we all watch that you will not find one law enforcement officer in this country that would stand behind what they did.”
Bianco said his department is “completely” transparent and pointed out that the department’s policies are available for public viewing online.
The board did approve a resolution condemning what happened to Floyd.
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