UPDATE (6:50 p.m.): Bakersfield police said that it is aware of social media posts about potential protests and “riots” at The Marketplace Friday evening. The department said it will provide extra patrols and respond as needed.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Bakersfield Police Department is advising residents to be critical of any posts on social media providing warnings about looting, threats or requests by police to close their doors.
The department said it has seen many such rumors over the past week. While in some cases businesses have shut down early or people have canceled plans to do go out due to rumors about rioting, BPD said these rumors are largely unfounded.
“While there have been a few instances of business burglaries committed by organized groups, a number of arrests have been made,” the department said. “There have been no further incidents.
There is no information connecting these thefts to any local protests.”
BPD said around 100 people gathered yesterday in front of the department in downtown Bakersfield to protest the death of George Floyd and that, while there were some protesters who obstructed traffic, the gathering was peaceful.
“The majority of the demonstrators obeyed the law and peacefully dispersed at the conclusion of the event,” the department said.
Protesters also held two additional gatherings at separate locations in Bakersfield during the same time. One gathering was in the 1300 block of Buena Vista Road and the other at the Mesa Verde ICE Detention Center at 425 Golden State Hwy.
There were no incidents at these demonstrations, according to BPD.
The department said it will only ask businesses to close if there is a known imminent threat. Such requests are made in person by a uniformed police officer whenever possible. Anyone who receives a phone call purporting to be the police asking for a shutdown is urged to verify the information by calling the department 661-327-7111.
“Please do not trust information of this sort spread through social media, and do not repost it yourself,” the department said.