Bakersfield Police Department Clears Itself in Shooting Death of 73-Year-Old Francisco Serna

Jul 7, 2017
9:29 AM

In response to the killing of 73-year-old Francisco Serna last December by Bakersfield police officer Reagan Selman, police chief Lyle Martin said Thursday that Selman’s actions followed correct policy and protocol.

“The Critical Incident Review Board… determined that the shots fired by officer Reagan Selman on December 12, 2016 resulting in Francisco Serna’s death were within department policy and within state and federal guidelines,” Martin said via a live stream of the press conference.

Martin said that there were reports that Serna was brandishing a gun. A woman who saw the police on the scene insisted that Serna had a revolver. When Selman spotted Serna, he kept telling Serna to remove his hands from his jacket. Serna, according to Martin, did not comply and kept walking to Selman. Selman then fired at Serna seven times. Serna was struck by five bullets.

After Serna died and a search of his body began, no gun was found, only a wooden crucifix. Family members have said that Serna was suffering from dementia.

“My decision on the incident is that officer Selman’s actions were objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances,” Martin said. “This incident is under review by the Kern Country District Attorney’s office and they will make a legal finding. We have already forwarded this investigation to the California Department of Justice as part of their ongoing pattern and practice investigation of the department, and I would like the remind the public that the day following this incident, I invited the Federal Bureau of Investigation to review the facts and circumstances of this shooting, and they accepted. With that being said, this officer-involved shooting at the local, county, state and federal levels.”

Serna’s son Roy posted the following on Facebook: ‘So thats there [sic] side of the story, my Dad isnt here to tell his side…” (The public post has since been deleted.)

“He was a really nice guy, what you would call a model neighbor, he never really gave us a hard time,” Victor Medina told Bakersfield Now on Thursday. ” He was always smiling he was a really nice guy, we got along great.”