Tuesday, Oct. 9 --Members of the organization
Peace Fresno were recently
shocked when they found out that one of their participants,
Aaron Stokes, died in a motorcycle accident. An obituary published
in the local newspaper in late August showed Aaron's picture.
But the name under the picture was not Aaron Stokes. It was
Aaron Kilner - an undercover detective who was working for the
Fresno County Sheriff's department. He was also a member of
the local anti-terrorism unit. Kilner was 26 years old and the
father of two girls.
Peace Fresno activists are concerned that an
undercover officer attending their meetings is in violation
of their personal liberties and civil rights. Fresno County
sheriff Richard Pierce would not answer whether or not Kilner
was attending meetings but asserted that he "was not and
is not the subject of any investigation by the Fresno County
Police Department." But in a statement issued October 2, Pierce
declared, "For the purpose of detecting or preventing terrorist
activities, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department may visit
any place and attend any event that is open to the public, on
the same terms and conditions as members of the public generally."