civil rights

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. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A Fresno County Superior Court judge is allowing a lawsuit against the county public defender's office to move forward. 

The ACLU claims the office is underfunded and that violates the rights of defendants to due process and a speedy trial.

The ACLU’s Novella Coleman says budget cuts mean attorneys in the office are struggling with massive workloads. 

Lionsgate / Pantelion Films

Later this month, the story of the late farm labor leader Cesar Chavez hits the silver screen with a biopic by acclaimed director Diego Luna. It’s the first time a major motion picture has been made about the life of the founder of the United Farm Workers Union. It features a cast of Hollywood stars including America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson and John Malkovich, with Michael Pena cast as the late civil rights hero. Tomorrow night President Obama will host a screening of the movie at the White House.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that increases the rights of transgender students at public schools.  It will allow students to participate in extracurricular activities and use school facilities based on their gender identity – not their physical characteristics.

Critics have suggested “bad actors” could use the law to prey on school children.  But the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, calls those complaints “scare tactics” and says they’ll go away with education.

Fresno State

The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin has sparked a national dialogue about race and justice. In this edition of Valley Public Radio’s commentary series The Moral Is Ida Jones, Professor of Business Law at Fresno State, says the verdict makes her question our nation’s commitment to the principles of justice and fairness.


What happened to the principles of justice and fairness the U.S. was supposed to represent?