Police break up competing protest groups in Northwest Bakersfield

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As protesters held a peaceful protest in front of Bakersfield police headquarters Friday evening, a second protest and counter protest took place in Northwest Bakersfield and police were eventually called to an intersection to keep the two groups apart.

One group protesting the death of George Floyd and police brutality was met by counter protesters carrying American flags and “Make America Great Again” flags on opposite corners at Calloway and Hageman roads at around 6 p.m.

The groups eventually made their way on opposing streets to Rosedale Highway and Calloway Road then headed back to the intersection of Calloway and Hageman roads at around 10 p.m.

Bakersfield police said the two groups had been peaceful for much of the time they were across from another and officers were in the area if they needed to intervene.

Police say just before 10 p.m. tensions between the two groups appeared to rise and officers entered the intersection at Hageman and Calloway roads.

According to a statement from Bakersfield police late Friday, one of the counter protesters threw smoke bombs toward the Black Lives Matter group and members from both groups briefly confronted one another in the roadway. Officers ordered both groups to disperse.

Officials said no arrests were made and no one was injured in the brief skirmish.

Bakersfield Assistant Chief of Police Joe Mullins told 17’s Eytan Wallace said the department is ready for more protests over the weekend and encourages protesters to continue to peacefully protest and to obey the law.

“We encourage First Amendment activity, we’re perfectly fine with everybody getting out and letting their voice be heard,” Mullins said. “But please understand, you cannot break the law, even to let your voice be heard.”

Mullins estimated about 200 people made up both groups.

Police are looking further into who threw the smoke bomb and other assaults that took place during the confrontations. Anyone with information is asked to call Bakersfield police at 327-7111.

The department said Saturday witnesses can upload video evidence to this website.

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