Protesters Call for Chief Dyer's Resignation

November 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
"Fire Dyer, fire Dyer!" Calling for his resignation, about thirty people gathered in Downtown Fresno Friday to protest Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and his department's most recent officer involved shooting of Steven Vargas."We gotta make our voices heard and we gotta speak up for those afraid to come out and afraid to be shot by a cop!"

Last week, Vargas drove the wrong way on McKinley and crashed his SUV into the front yard of a house. The 32-year-old father of five was shot after an officer ordered him out of his vehicle. Investigators say he was not armed.

"He didn't have a weapon. He wasn't even holding a cell phone. To me, that's murder and I think the man that shot him should go to prison just like we would go to prison for shooting the cop."

There have been 11 Fresno officer involved shootings this year. In at least three of those incidents, the person shot was under the influence of either drugs of alcohol.

A toxicology report showed Vargas had PCP in his system. Police Chief Jerry Dyer would not comment on last week's shooting, but says these cases are becoming more common.

"And when that happens, we end up being confronted with situations where people are acting strange, very bizarre and placing our officers in very dangerous situations."

Chief Dyer says his officers are trained to deal with all types of situations, including suspects who are under the influence. But Steven Vargas' family isn't convinced, saying his death was not justified.

"It's not fair that just because you were using drugs, you're going to be killed for it."

People who attended tonight's protest say this is the beginning of a campaign geared towards Dyer's resignation.

Meanwhile, city officials just announced their hire for a police auditor who will help investigate officer involved shootings. He starts on November 30th.



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