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2003-10-09

Peace Group Infiltrated By Government Agent

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Peace Fresno was infiltrated by an agent working for the Fresno Sheriff’s Department and local anti-terrorism unit. Aaron Kilner, known by Peace Fresno activists as Aaron Stokes, died in a motorcycle accident in late August. Peace Fresno activists learned his true identity in the local paper’s obituary.

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.

A Peace Fresno member Nicholas DeGraff says, "The first question on everyone’s mind was 'a dove in hawk's clothing, or a hawk in dove’s clothing?"

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."

  • Nicholas DeGraff, Peace Fresno activist and member of a newly formed group monitoring the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Fresno Police Department.
  • Catherine Campbell, Civil Rights Attorney representing Peace Fresno.

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