Aug 07

Central California Criminal Justice Committee

scaleAugust 15, 2015

To our supporters and friends:

There are some exciting developments the CCCJC would like to share with you regarding police oversight in Fresno. Our group was instrumental in the City hiring Rick Rasmussen, our police Auditor. Changes in the Police Department since his arrival have been pretty dramatic. When he arrived in Fresno we were averaging one officer involved shooting per month. That number has dropped significantly to a rate of one or two OIS per year. Rasmussen has gained more prominence within the City government in the last few months and has been given an assistant to help him carry out a new mission.

The assistant is Mark Scharman, who has been given the title of Director of Internal Audits. Scharman, who has 28 years of law enforcement experience, is charged with carrying out an independent department-wide inspection process. The idea is to have a fresh set of eyes from outside the department review all the procedures, top to bottom. This new position was created based on the recommendation of Rasmussen in response to the Keith Foster affair.

Meanwhile, the CCCJC continues to distribute large numbers of our handbook, “A Student’s Guide to Police Practice,” which gives young people invaluable advice about what their rights are and about how to interact with the police. The handbooks are being distributed in schools, neighborhood centers and through community groups.

Last fall we sent one of our board members to the annual conference of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), and she was able to return with much valuable information to help us with our work in Fresno.

We feel we are doing an effective job in making sure there is proper oversight of the FPD and in improving police/community relations. To continue to carry out this work we need to ask you for financial support once in a while. The last time we asked for your support was at the end of 2013. We have exhausted the funds that you gave to us at that time, so we need to ask for your help again. Please give generously and return in the enclosed envelope.

Thank you for your support.

Gerry Bill

Rebeca Rangel

Oct 11


learn_more_356x200Incarcerating Us is a feature-length documentary that exposes America’s prison problem and explores ways to unshackle the Land of the Free through vital criminal justice reforms. With 2.3 million people behind bars, the U.S. has the largest prison population in the history of the world.


Jul 26

News From the Gas Chamber


Working for alternatives to the death penalty
Dear Friend,

As I sat in the gas chamber, the door clanged shut.  I was alone and suddenly dizzy and disoriented. Fear welled up inside of me. In the profound silence I could hear my heart beat, and realized that people had sat here before me until their heart was stopped–at the hands of the government.

Those moments had a profound effect on me.

As a law enforcement professional who had worked on many death penalty cases, I had accepted an invitation to enter the pod that was the gas chamber of Parchman State Prison. This was a working gas chamber where the state of Mississippi killed its condemned prisoners. It never occurred to me that it would ultimately lead to me completely changing my views on capital punishment.

More than forty years ago, I lost a cousin to murder and, at the time,  I would not have objected to a death penalty had the killer ever been caught. I have worked in law enforcement and the criminal justice system for nearly fifty years, including 24 years in the FBI, often visiting prisons and death rows without really questioning the use of the death penalty. I was myself once partly responsible for an execution, having arrested a murderer who ultimately received the death penalty.

But after my experience in the gas chamber, my conviction was shaken. I started to think and reflect.  Following my retirement from the FBI,  I became involved in the international human rights movement and gradually my attitudes changed. I found I could no longer support the concept of capital punishment.

I am not someone who is soft on crime, quite the contrary, but I have come to realize that killing the killer does not help the victims and is not a deterrent to crime. The cost of state killings is also a major drain on state budgets–money that could be used to put more police officers on the streets. That is why I would now advocate for the life of my cousin’s killer.

This is why I support Death Penalty Focus (DPF) in their work to end the death penalty. They have been educating and mobilizing the public on this issue for more than 25 years. During that time, they have amplified the voices of law enforcement, murder victims’ family members, and exonerees.

Public opposition to the death penalty continues to grow and it is imperative that we do not let up now. That’s why I dedicate so much of my time and money to help DPF to put an end to this cruel and pointless practice once and for all. I hope you will join me by making a contribution generous within your means to help DPF in its work to replace the death penalty with justice that works for everyone.


Tom Parker
Federal Bureau of Investigation (ret.)
DPF Board Member

PS.  If you agree that we should end the death penalty, then please make tax-deductible donation today. If you have already made a contribution, thank you for your support.

Mar 16

20 Maps That Explain Mass Incarceration in America

03/16/2016 Here is a real in depth look at the FACTS behind America’s Mass Incarceration Problem.



Jan 29

4th Quarter OIR Report Available

The fourth quarter Office of Independent Review (OIR) Report regarding the Fresno Police Department for the period October – December 2015 is now available. Please check out the link under the Fresno OIR tab, OIR Reports section.

Jan 28

Fresno PD Low Moral Problem

In a recent article in the Fresno BEE Newspaper, the editor referred to a moral problem within the Fresno Police Department.


Read the full article here.

Jan 28

CCCJC Quarterly Meeting Date Changed

WhistlingDonkey1After a long conversation with the members of the CCCJC steering committee, a consensus was reached to change the next quarterly meeting to Monday, February 8th, 2016 beginning at 6:30 PM at the  Fresno Center for Non Violence, 1584 North Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, CA 93728

All Are Welcome

Sep 30

October Meeting Date Changed to Thursday, November 5th

scale[1]Please join us at our next Quarterly Meeting on Thursday, November 5th at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 North Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, CA 93728

Sep 11

Officer Involved Shooting – Fresno

Monday, September 07, 2015 11:49PM


A Fresno police officer shot and killed a suspect after a wild high-speed pursuit across the city and county on Monday.

“There were minimal rounds fired by the officer involved,” Police Chief Jerry Dyer added. “There were multiple officers on scene conducting the search, but only one officer fired at the suspect.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Sep 05

Latest NACOLE Digest

Please read the latest NACOLE Digest here logo[1]

Sep 03

California’s New OpenJustice Website


Screenshot of the 2013 murder of an unarmed man at a traffic stop by police in Gardena, California via LA Times

On September 2nd this year, the California Department of Justice launched a new website that publishes data about police interactions with the public, including the number of people who die at the hands of police.

Called Open Justice, the initiative is being billed as the first of its kind to provide detailed data to the public on a variety of crime statistics, including the number of officers killed and assaulted while on duty. The California DOJ says that the effort is a step towards more transparency amidst America’s ongoing debate about citizens dying both in police custody and by cops on the street.

Read the rest of the article here.

reprint of article published 09/02/2015 in Gizmodo by Matt Novac. Read the full article here GIZMODO

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