Fresno · Highlight

Police investigate, gear up over viral rumor of Fresno riots

In a stark contrast to the peaceful protests in Fresno on Sunday, a post has been circulating on social media on Monday pushing to organize riots in Fresno.

In the post, titled “BLM Fresno Riots,” it says that riots will begin at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and tells people to meet at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in River Park. 

The post lists three goals: “Tear up Caucasian infrastructure, send a message to PD” and “fight back the oppressors.” 

The Fresno Police Department posted a message on Facebook saying it was investigating the claim and organization of a potential riot.

“The Fresno Police Department is aware of the post that has been circulating through social media about a potential aggressive protest tomorrow afternoon,” Fresno PD wrote. “We have dedicated several resources to tracking the validity of this threat, and we are working towards a peaceful solution to any group that may want to be heard in our community. 

“The police department will be prepared to respond to any acts of violence against persons or property in our city. Stay strong Fresno. Thank you for letting us serve you!” 

The Fresno State NAACP – one of the organizers of Sunday’s protests – said in an Instagram post that Black Lives Matter is not behind the riot post. 

“There are people impersonating the Black Lives Matter movement (we don’t have a BLM chapter here in Fresno) and the message we are trying to share,” Fresno State NAACP wrote. 

“This event was created by Right-Wing agitators against the progress of Black people. This is exactly what we are talking about. Our people are hurting, and if you attended yesterday you would understand why it is so important to share this and to stop everyone you think might attend. This was not created by or for Black people.” 

Monday evening, Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall issued a statement noting that the investigation into the origin of the post was continuing, but that the force’s posture was shifting in response to a potential threat.

He added that there would be no push for a curfew in the City of Fresno.

“The Fresno Police Department is aware of the social media post threatening civil disobedience throughout our city. These threats are being investigated,” Hall said. “I will be adjusting the mission of several units and there will be increased patrols and tactical units addressing the City’s commercial businesses.”

“Air support will be working with undercover units as we keep a watchful eye on those who would victimize our city for personal gain in the name of a tragedy.

Tactical units will be prepared to address any crime that threatens our community. If you see suspicious activity or a crime being committed please call (559) 621-7000. If you have an emergency please call 911.

At this time, as the Chief of Police, I am not recommending a curfew be placed on a community that just successfully had one of the largest peaceful demonstrations in this country.

Together we can keep our home safe but we cannot do this without you Fresno!”

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.