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Riots, Protests and Police Shootings: The Current State of Anaheim

Riots, Protests and Police Shootings: The Current State of Anaheim

Anaheim continues to be in a state of unrest following a pair of shooting deaths at the hands of police this past weekend, reports the Los Angeles Times. When protesters took to the streets to demand accountability for the officers, Anaheim Police Department ended the assemblies by firing less lethal ammunition at the crowd, prompting residents to resort to vandalism to voice their frustrations instead.

On Saturday, Manuel Diaz, was shot twice from behind while fleeing from police unarmed. Upset by the questionable use of deadly force, a crowd of locals assembled to speak out against police violence in the community. To disperse the crowd, officers fired less lethal ammunition indiscriminately at the people, including many young children and released a police dog – perhaps accidentally – which attacked defenseless protesters. (See Care2’s more in depth coverage of Saturday’s events, as well as a must-see video of policing firing at protesters.)

The following day, police killed Joel Acevedo during a foot chase. Police say that the shooting was justified since Acevedo fired at an officer first, but the incident certainly did nothing to quell already rising tensions.

The conflict came to a head on Tuesday night when more than 1,000 protesters amassed in Anaheim to voice their opposition to the recent police violence. Police labeled the event an unlawful assembly, which prompted a few in the crowd to throw rocks at the officers standing nearby. In response, police fired pepper spray and less lethal ammunition at the crowd, leading them to scatter around the city.

Police chased – and fired at – a fraction of the crowd who continued to roam the city. Some of the protesters took to vandalizing by setting dumpsters on fire and breaking the windows of commercial buildings. The police arrested 24 people throughout the night.

Genevieve Huizar, the mother of shooting victim Diaz, filed a wrongful death suit against the police, but implored the residents to end the rioting. “Please, please, please, stop the violence,” she said, as quoted by the LAist. “It’s not going to bring my son back, and this is the worst thing any mother could go through.”

Huizar’s attorney, Dana Douglas, remained critical of the police department, however. “Police don’t roust white kids in affluent neighborhoods who are just having a conversation, and those kids have no reason to fear police,” said Douglas. “But young men with brown skin in poor neighborhoods do.”

Anaheim has had five fatal police shootings already this year, which has left the Latino community at odds with city officials. Additionally, many residents feel that the city’s financial resources are allocated toward the wealthier areas with Disneyland and sports arenas, at the expense of the poorer neighborhoods where many of the Latinos live. Though Latinos comprise 53% of Anaheim’s population, there have only been three Latino council members ever, which the American Civil Liberties Union alleges is due to Anaheim’s unfair electoral system.

To summarize, the state of Anaheim is pretty much a mess. Though city officials have taken a good first step by calling for a federal investigation of Diaz’s shooting (the officers involved are currently on paid leave), they are going to need to do a better job of addressing the community’s concerns overall to end the demonstrations and rioting. And while Anaheim residents should have the right to voice their opinions without being brutalized by the police, they are liable to lose the public relations war when they react with the destruction of private property.

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Photo Credit: Highway Patrol Images

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51 comments

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8:33AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

I believe most of you are not aware of just how serious things have become in America, not just in California.
Are any of you aware of what 'hollow point bullets' are? They are bullets which expand on impact, to maximise the damage, and are banned by the Geneva Convention for use in warfare. Yet 'Homeland Security' have recently ordered 450 million of them, on top of hundreds of millions of previously ordered different caliber rounds!
Search 'homeland security 450 million hollow point bullets'.
And another thing, haven't y'all heard of 'agent provocateurs'? This is a well honed trick by the authorities; they infiltrate masked 'demonstrators' to throw rocks at police, burn cars, smash windows etc. to give them an excuse to attack otherwise peaceful demonstrators.
I know the British police (where I live) use that tactic, as do the Canadian and US forces.
I do not know if they used that tactic in Anaheim, but people should be very aware of the tactic.
It sometimes seems that 'Care2' commenters are woefully unaware of just how close the US is to Martial Law. Please do a bit of internet surfing on these subjects; plenty of info out there!

4:30AM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

while Anaheim residents should have the right to voice their opinions without being brutalized by the police...................

they are liable to lose the public relations war ......

when they react with the destruction of private property.....THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THIS!


2:52PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Pobre Hijo! He should be allowed to be a plague on society, to be a violent criminal and gang banger. He should be allowed to steal cars and shoot innocent children that do much better in school than he ever did. Why do you suppose the Police would shoot him???
THIN THE HERD!

1:47PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

This is going to take a lot of work in the near future to repair. How to start? Where to begin? I think my new book has answers. See “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” (Amazon.com). And my blog is at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com/ where I discuss these and other current police improvement issues. Good luck and may we all experience not just good but great policing!

3:22AM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

thanks

FYI Sorry friends,my profile is down until I get help from care2 support

5:31PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

I have 2 friends who are on the Anaheim police force. I've told them a number of times how they scare the hell out me with how they talk. They seriously believe it's a war out there and for the most part the general public is the enemy. We have had a number of heated discussions on this, with me trying to tell them, we (the public) are not the enemy but it's to no avail. Is Anaheim racist? No, I don't believe they are as both my friends are Hispanic as am I and I haven't had too many problems with the police but I do know they will ignore your rights and question you if you are in one of the poorer neighborhoods. I personally have been searched for no other reason then just "hanging out" with the guys when I was younger. If you ask them, "what about my rights?" they laugh and tell you to get a lawyer. Anaheim is very heavy handed and they need to be taught we are not their enemy.

12:13PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Anaheim's postal service is still great. I believe these riots are more isolated. I agree that no officer has the right to kill an unarmed fleeing offender. They should have safer means of bringing one down, or get off their lazy behinds and give chase. The cops in my town are seen napping in parking lots.

10:30AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Noted.

6:14AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Sounds like Anaheim Police modeled themselves after LAPD (Rodney King, etc.) far too closely for actually protecting the whole community

12:27AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

If given the opportunity the police will shoot before asking questions. In some case people are rioting because of issues they are facing. Get to the issue. Stop killing because people are trying to find a place in society. We have so many problems with the poorest of the poor. These people need help to survive. Our country has so many poor people and this is not addressed. They become frustrated and start fighting but then they lose. Killed or put into jail. We are one step behind third world countries. Death is the answer.

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