Cops Fire Bean Bags, Rubber Bullets, and Pepper Balls and Unleash Dog on Crowd that Included Children
The City of Anaheim, California – home to Disneyland – is in the national spotlight right now for a vicious police assault Saturday on a Mexican-American community.
It all started Saturday, July 21, when Anaheim police approached three men in an alley. The men reportedly fled, but one – Manual Diaz – a 25 year old man – who police said was a known gang member – was chased to the front of an apartment complex where he was shot and killed by police. One eyewitness told the media that he witnessed Diaz being shot in the back or buttocks area, that he fell to the ground, and then was shot again in the head. The Anaheim police chief later said that Diaz was unarmed.
In response to the shooting, members of the predominately Mexican-American community in northeast Anaheim began protesting. A protest crowd that included children, babies and older people formed, and the demonstration continued for quiet some time. Some in the crowd reportedly began throwing rocks and bottles at police.
Somewhere during the afternoon, police opened up – at this point police cannot recall if a warning was given – with bean bags, rubber bullets, and tear gas. A police dog also charged the crowd and almost attacked a mother holding an infant. The dog did bite several people. Police later said the dog got out of its patrol car accidentally.
Watch the following video. It is video captured by a KCAL-TV crew and shows a chaotic scene; some people are ducking to the ground and others scattered screaming. A man is seen yelling at an officer even as a weapon is pointed at him; two adults huddled to shield a boy and girl. Meanwhile, a police dog charged at several people sitting on the grass, including a woman and a child in a stroller, before biting a man in the arm.
Tensions between police and the community remained high all weekend. On Sunday, as Police Chief Chief John Welter held a news conference to discuss what happened the night before, demonstrators swamped the lobby of the police department headquarters in Orange County. Protesters chanted “no justice, no peace” and “cops, pigs, murderers”. Some dumpsters were set on fire during Sunday night.
Police announced 5 people were arrested. And two officers were placed on administrative leave.
The mayor of Anaheim, Tom Tait, has asked the state attorney general to investigate the incident. Tait told media:
“Transparency is essential. Whatever the truth is, we will own it.”
It was also reported that Crystal Ventura, a 17-year-old who witnessed the shooting, told the Orange County Register that the man had his back to the officer. Ventura said the man was shot in the buttocks area. The man then went down on his knees, she said, adding that he was struck by another bullet in the head. Ventura said another officer handcuffed the man, who by then was on the ground and not moving. Ventura told the paper:
“They searched his pockets, and there was a hole in his head, and I saw blood on his face.”
This is the 8th officer-involved shooting in Anaheim this year. A petition has been set up calling on State Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate what is going on in this Southern California city, not too distant from our own county. Another protest has been called for later on Sunday the 29th of July Sunday at the Anaheim police Department 12 noon -2pm.
Here are some news sources: Huffington Post, MSNBC.