Home News Colin Kaepernick made a TV show about Bakerfield PD, department says it...

Colin Kaepernick made a TV show about Bakerfield PD, department says it is biased

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Ishani Desai

The Bakersfield Californian

The Bakersfield Police Department issued a statement Friday about docuseries “Killing County,” which reexamines local controversial police killings, and said officers are creating a “transparency portal” so people can make their own judgments about “statistical and factual inaccuracies.”

Released Friday on Hulu, “Killing County” focuses on five victims of shootings by police and Kern County Sheriff’s deputies. It was produced by ABC News Studios and Kaepernick Media, which used The Guardian’s 2015 investigation into Kern’s law enforcement as inspiration for its series.

BPD wrote the topics in the docuseries are serious — any loss of life is tragic regardless of their circumstances. The department also acknowledged isolated instances of corruption and said those involved have been held accountable. When their transparency portal launches, BPD said, the community can review these incidents and others to form their opinions.

Asked to respond to alleged statistical and factual inaccuracies in the documentary, Ben Meiselas, the executive producer from Kaepernick Media, said BPD had a chance to state their concerns in the series.

“We offered the Bakersfield Police Department the opportunity to participate in the docuseries,” wrote Meiselas, who is also a civil rights attorney who represented one victim featured in the documentary. “They declined.”

BPD spokesman Sgt. Robert Pair explained why officers declined to participate.

“We were not comfortable with the objectivity of the project and chose not to participate,” he wrote in an email to The Californian.

Producers from ABC News Studios and The Guardian did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said Thursday he will refrain from commenting until next week, after he watches the series.

BPD and KCSO have signed a stipulated judgment with the state Attorney General’s office mandating a series of reforms to their use-of-force policies. That legal agreement allowed both agencies to forgo admitting to accusations of constitutional violations and instead change policies.

While being investigated by the state Department of Justice, BPD noted state officials reviewed all historical officer-involved shootings, even if someone didn’t die. The Kern County District Attorney’s Office also examined all shootings.

Neither agency filed criminal charges against officers in connection to the fatal shootings noted in the docuseries.

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