Fresno's mayor speaks up after times of unrest in Fresno

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"I still struggle to find the right words, because, there's no way to capture, I think, the feelings that we're all having right now," said Ashley Swearengin.

The spotlight is on Fresno-- the video of the Dylan Noble shooting has been seen across the nation. There have been protests in the streets and the mayor is responding to criticism.

In times of uncertainty, we look to our leaders for guidance. In Fresno, mayor Ashley Swearengin is the voice many have been waiting to hear.

"I still struggle to find the right words, because, there's no way to capture, I think, the feelings that we're all having right now."

She spoke with us over the phone because she's supposed to be on vacation. She said, between protests and the fatal shooting of Dylan Noble at the hands of police officers, there hasn't been much time to rest.

"I'm trying to walk through this as if I were in the shoes of law enforcement, the shoes of family, and I think like most Fresnans, it's just such a conflictive feeling."

Saturday's protest, the mayor said, was a major test. Many were on edge, in light of national headlines-- the police shooting deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and the murder of five police officers in Dallas.

Swearengin said her focus was on safety and keeping the peace and in response to a Fresno Bee editorial, in which she was criticized for leaving the police chief to speak for the city, Swearengin said it was important to step back and not rush to the microphone.

"There will always be a time to comment, to ask people to come together as a community after you know that people's safety has been addressed. And that's really where my mindset has been over this last week."

With all eyes on Fresno and the video of Dylan Noble's final moments she said, "I think that people are probably thinking, 'gosh if he had just shown his hands or if he had just followed the officer's commands, you know, the situation could have been avoided.'"

Swearengin said she is leaving the judgement of justification in the hands of the experts.

She plans to meet with faith leaders of the city on Saturday to figure out how to move forward, without creating a bigger divide.

That meeting will be at the West Side Church of God and it won't be open to the public.After it's over the mayor said she will step to the forefront and speak on camera.

Related Topics:
societyashley swearenginprotestofficer involved shootingfresnoFresno
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