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December Police Shooting Ruled Within Guidelines and Policy

By Marcus Castro

The police shooting in December 2016 that killed 76-year-old Francisco Serna has been ruled within state and federal guidelines and within Bakersfield Police Department policy.

BPD Chief Lyle Martin stated, “After reviewing the witness statements, officer statements, the physical evidence collected, and the recommendation of the critical incident review board, my decision on the incident is that Officer [Reagan] Selman’s actions were objectively reasonable on the totality of the circumstances.”

The critical incident review board, which consisted of three current captains and one retired captain, did not find fault in the incident as well. The board came to the conclusion that the actions of Officer Selman were under department policy and within state and federal guidelines.

Josth Stenner, an organizer for Faith in the Valley, said, “I don’t think that the cops should be investigating themselves. When police officers investigate other police officers, they always find themselves not guilty.”

On Dec. 12, there was a report that an armed man, who was later determined to be Francisco Serna, was on the 7900 block of Silver Birch Avenue. The person giving the report specifically said the man had a revolver, according to Chief Martin.

Two officers, one being Officer Selman, arrived and spoke with the reporting party and were again told the man was armed and she even pointed the man out.

When confronted and told to stop moving toward Officer Selman, Serna continued to advance toward the officer. Serna had his hands in his jacket where it was believed the gun could be.

Officer Selma retreated from his original position after several commands to Serna to quit moving toward him.

The officer was backed into a position where there could be no more retreat due to a fence, according to Chief Martin.

The officer gave a warning to Serna that he would shoot if he kept advancing. Serna did not stop moving forward, and Officer Selman fired seven shots and Serna was hit by five.

Serna died at the scene. After a search of Serna, it was found that he did not have a gun on him, but he had a crucifix.

After the news was out of the critical incident review board and Chief Martin finding Officer Selman’s actions were within state and federal guidelines and department policy, members of Serna’s family and people that support them were outside the Bakersfield Police Department Headquarters holding signs wanting justice for Serna.

“We need more justice in the justice system, especially when it comes in the hands of police officers killing somebody,” said Stenner.

Even though the decision by the board and chief have been made, the situation is still being reviewed on local, county, state and federal levels.

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