Fresno CopBlocker, Brian Sumner, Appears in Local News Segment

There are others in Fresno who also film police. It’s a trend that came to the forefront about a year ago, when a man named Brian Sumner,  and his cell phone camera, began hitting the streets.

26 year old Sumner calls himself a “police accountability activist.”  He created a YouTube channel called FreeFRESNO and on it are hundreds of videos documenting police encounters.

Sumner says, “I realized there was little to no punishment for these officers when they acted above and beyond what they are expected of.”

Sumner says he’s trying to hold police accountable and to make sure they’re not doing anything wrong.  In some of his videos, he respectfully talks to officers and they respectfully respond. In others, he lets people know their right and exercises his own.  But in a handful of videos, his tone takes a turn.

Sumner takes various tactics in his videos to solicit a rise out of officers.  In one montage, he mocks several of them following Deputy Chief Keith Foster’s arrest on federal drug charges and asks where he can find heroin.

He says even though creating police trust is a priority, it’s hard to build when corruption is uncovered.

Chief Dyer says, “I think it’s a terrible trend that we’re seeing in America today, where it’s becoming very popular to criticize police officers, to provoke them, to interfere with them why while they’re trying to do their job.

Chief Dyer says he doesn’t believe Sumner is trying to make a positive difference. After all, he is accused of vandalizing the department’s Peace Officers Memorial, although charges have yet to be filed.

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