I hit the streets with another Cop Block Fresno affiliate in our weekly mission to watch and record Blackstone Ave. We passed out a few flyers to the cruise participants who were available, and even gave some to the police. I am relatively new as a contributor to the Cop Block website, yet I take the message that “Badges don’t grant extra rights” very seriously. Deo recently sent me some flyers and information to hand out around town. It all looked legit to me, and was full of very reasonable tips and advice.
I have been doing police accountability for 2 years. It is not my wish to spread misinformation that could potentially get someone in more trouble, or worse, result in some form of physical injury or death. To avoid this, I asked the police if the information I was handing out was accurate. I know, I know- why would the police be inclined to corroborate my information? Guess what? They didn’t. The Fresno police were less than inclined to comment on the accuracy of the information. One officer even told me he would have to consult with a lawyer before answering my questions. These responses, and experience in general, did not make me comfortable with the education that police displayed regarding their knowledge of simple laws, such as remaining silent or refusing warrantless searches.
For years car culture enthusiasts have been meeting to cruise, compare cars, and enjoy the company of similar-minded individuals who like to mod their cars for performance, visuals and often both. The Fresno Police have been policing the cruise in an effort to generate easy revenue off of speeders, unlicensed drivers, and any minor defect you might have on your car.
This year a new tactic has been employed, the use of police cadets and squad cars with lights flashing to occupy parking lots along Blackstone in order to keep cruisers from parking there, and potentially performing burnouts and donuts. Another new tactic this year is closing Blackstone at certain intersections and diverting traffic from Blackstone Ave in an effort to end the fun, and disperse the drivers.
I received word from a reliable source that FPD officer rammed a car that was suspected of trying to flee. There is cell phone video, but at this time, I have had no luck in retaining a copy of the footage.
A local contingent of car culture enthusiasts have started a campaign to preserve cruising in Fresno. They are using the hashtag #SaveBlackstone and organizing large cruises to preserve car culture in Fresno. If you are in the surrounding area, and are into car culture, please join Fresno Meetup, and get involved in protecting the freedom to travel in Fresno, CA. Also hit up the Cop Block Fresno Facebook page with any footage of police interactions you record.
Continue to pimp those rides, and remember to film the police. It really often is a matter of life and death.