The police officers serving the Bakersfield, California area, are expected to protect and serve the community, but for years they have been at the center of scandals involving corruption, misconduct and, on at least five occasions, the deaths of unarmed men.
Now the Bakersfield police department, which at one point was averaging 13 deaths a year for a population of 875,000, according to FBI data, has been investigated, sued and agreed to make changes that will be overseen by an independent monitor in response to the public outcry for justice.
An ABC News Studios Hulu series, "The Killing County," which launches Feb. 3, takes a look at the controversy over the police force in Kern County and the trail of killings in their wake.
The three-part series will feature interviews with family members of victims who died at the hands of officers, and offer insight from law enforcement and criminal justice experts.
Here are the cases that will be highlighted in the series:
Jorge Ramirez Jr.
The series spends much of its focus on the Sept. 16, 2013, death of Jorge Ramirez Jr., who was shot by police in the parking lot of a hotel in a car.
Ramirez was a former Junior Olympic boxing champion and father of five, who over the years, had developed a drug problem and served some time in prison.
Police initially contended that Ramirez, was working with Justin Bryan Harger, who was wanted in an attempted shooting, when they found the pair in the car that day.
Ramirez's family fought to get more details about the shooting and they say discovered that their son was an off-the-books informant with the police. Ramirez was working to help find Harger, according to his family, and was in the car with Harger when the police arrived at the hotel.
When officers moved in to capture Harger, they opened fire on Ramirez, who was unarmed, court documents said.
"I remember we were all just mad. This is exactly what we're talking about. This department is corrupted," Nicole Ramirez, Jorge's sister, said.
The family sued the department over Jorge's death following many claims by the police that the shooting was justified. The city issued a $400,000 settlement with the family.
On May 3, 2013, David Silva was approached by several Kern County police officers after he was found sleeping on the street outside the Kern Medical Center.
Silva, a father of four who was diagnosed with ADHD, went to the medical center for mental health issues but was told to go to another facility.
The officers put Silva in a hogtie, a method of tying a person's limbs together that renders them immobile and is banned by most police departments, put a spit mask over his face and restrained him in a face-down position, according to court documents and footage from the scene.
A canine was also on the scene during the Silva confrontation, which ended with his death.
"The screaming I hear at night still. The gargling of his own blood, him saying 'Help.' And there was nothing we could do about it," Sulina Quair, a bystander who filmed the incident, said.
Quair alleges later that night, the police demanded she give them the video evidence on the phone and she says to this day has never gotten the phone back.
Police officials contended that the officers did nothing wrong and Silva was a threat. Silva's family sued the force citing the use of restraints and alleged excessive force.
The Kern County Sheriff's Office settled with the family for $3.4 million.
"It was the hardest thing I ever been through," Chris Silva, David's brother, said. "It changed my entire life, my mentality, my faith, my hope, my understanding of justice and law."
On Aug. 22, 2015, two Bakersfield police officers passed by a Subway restaurant where an alleged burglary was taking place.
The officers alleged they found Jason Alderman, 29, at the restaurant with a gun and shot him when he didn't obey their commands to drop the weapon.
Alderman, who had a criminal past and drug issues, was carrying a tire iron the police mistook for a gun and was unjustly killed, according to his family.
"I know my son made a bad choice, but the police, they're not supposed to be judge, jury and executioner," Judy Alderman, Jason's mother, said.
For months, his family worked to get surveillance footage they say that countered the police reports that Alderman had a weapon during the encounter. Instead, he was carrying a tire jack, which they say he used to break down the door of the restaurant.
"If you were to watch the entire video, that tire jack is never pointed up. It is always on the side of him. He is carrying it, but not like a rifle would be carried, and it was never pointed to anyone," Tracy Alderman, Jason's aunt, said.
The officers who were involved in the shooting, one of whom had been involved in the Ramirez case, declined to speak for the story.
The city settled with Alderman's family, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit, for $100,000.
James De La Rosa
On Nov. 13, 2014, James De La Rosa, a 22-year-old oil rig worker, was returning home after a night out with his girlfriend and was allegedly chased by Bakersfield officers after they attempted to stop his jeep.
De La Rosa, who had never been in trouble with the law, was unarmed, and police alleged he was reaching for his waistband, appearing to reach for a weapon. Some witnesses, however, said De La Rosa had his hands up before he was shot dead.
De La Rosa's family said the incident was even more disturbing after it was revealed that a different officer was accused of playing with his corpse.
Officer Aaron Stringer, the senior officer in charge of trainees that night, tickled De La Rosa's body and made jokes about it in front of the other officers, according to court documents.
"He touched him in ways that he shouldn’t have," Leticia De La Rosa, James' mother, said. "My son was a joke to him. That was no joke."
Stringer was placed on administrative leave and left the force in 2015. He declined to comment for the story.
Bakersfield agreed to a $250,000 settlement with Stringer's family over his death.
On Dec. 12, 2016, the Bakersfield Police Department encountered 73-year-old Francisco Serna after they received a call about an argument he had with a neighbor.
Serna, a grandfather and great-grandfather, approached officers with his hands in his jacket pockets and allegedly refused to comply with orders to show his hands, according to police reports. A rookie officer opened fire, killing him.
While initial reports said Serna had a gun, his family was quick to dispute the given by the police were not accurate.
"They said there was an object found in his pocket," Rogelino "Roy" Serna, Francisco Serna's son, said. "It's a crucifix because he was at my house the day prior. He had that in his pocket, and he was blessing my house."
Even though police would later admit that Francisco Serna was unarmed and it was indeed a crucifix he was holding in his pocket, the victim's family scolded the Bakersfield Police for how they handled the situation, given that the authorities were alerted to Serna's declining mental health.
He was diagnosed with dementia five months before the encounter with police. The Bakersfield Police Department Communications center added a hazard notification to the dispatching officers stating that Francisco Serna had dementia and giving the name and phone number of a daughter to contact if necessary.
The city of Bakersfield agreed to pay the family $400,000 as part of a settlement in a wrongful death suit that was filed.
Serna's daughter Laura has been speaking out against the department's repeated alleged misconduct and brutality and joined victims' families in protesting the police department.
"I think organizing helps me cope because I don't want to be stuck in my depression," she said. "I don't want to be stuck in my sadness."