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Bakersfield police

Kern DA: Serna Shooting Was Justified

Feb 2, 2018

Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green has determined that Bakersfield Police officer Reagan Selman acted reasonably when he shot and killed 73 year-old Francisco Serna in December 2016. Serna was unarmed, and suffering from dementia. Police later discovered the item he was holding in his pocket was a crucifix.


A new report from the Southern California American Civil Liberties Union claims that the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office have - in the ACLU’s words – "engaged in patterns and practices that violate civil rights" including the excessive use of force.

NAACP Facebook

Late last year the California Department of Justice launched a "patterns and practices" investigation into the Bakersfield Police Department, after a series of incidents and officer involved shootings that drew national attention. New police chief Lyle Martin has been on the job for about as long, and now he has another issue to deal with: an encounter a few weeks ago between his officers and 19-year-old Tatyana Hargrove. It left the African-American woman with injuries from punches and a police K-9.

A drug and corruption investigation that has rocked Kern County area law enforcement for the last two years has grown into a new stage.

Last week two former Kern County sheriff’s deputies accepted plea deals with the U.S. Attorney office on charges they conspired to steal and then later sell marijuana, which the department had confiscated as evidence.

Kern High School District /

Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy has selected the city's next police chief, Lyle Martin. The Bakersfield native has served as the city's assistant police chief since 2008, and has been with the department for 28 years. 

Martin will take the department's top spot later this month, filling a seat left vacant with the retirement of current chief Greg Williamson. 

In a statement released by Tandy, the city manager praised Martin's experience and knowledge of the community. 

Bakersfield Police Department

The family members of several people killed by Bakersfield Police Department officers are calling for a federal investigation into the force.

The news comes just days after the sentencing of former Bakersfield Police Detective Damacio Diaz to five years in prison on corruption charges, and a surprise retirement announcement from Police Chief Greg Williamson. Diaz has alleged that corruption and misconduct is systemic throughout the force. 

Steven Mayer / The Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield Police have their hands full, as do most law enforcement agencies in the valley. But one neighborhood in the center of town is an especially troubling place. A 2 square-mile stretch of the city, bordered by California Avenue, Chester Ave, Brundage and Washington is home to 36 percent of the city’s gun homicides, 30 percent of the city’s shooting victims and one-quarter of all weapon firings.

City of Bakersfield

A drug and corruption scandal has rocked the Bakersfield Police Department. Former narcotics detective Damacio Diaz has accepted a plea deal in connection with federal charges that could send him to prison for life. Now that he’s cooperating with authorities, he has allegedly implicated others in the department, including his former partner on the force, Patrick Mara, who has also reportedly accepted a plea deal.