A crowd of about 150 people gathered at the corner of La Palma and Anna Dr. in Anaheim Sunday night to protest the killing of Manuel Angel Diaz, Saturday afternoon. The multitude chanted anti-police brutality slogans and held homemade signs that read, “APD assassins”, “Fuck the pigs” and “Criminal cops need to be fired”, while being watched by about a dozen police officers wearing riot gear and armed with rubber bullet guns.
At one point, bottles were thrown at the cops and a trash dumpster was rolled into the middle lane of La Palma and its contents lit on fire which was promptly put out by the Anaheim Fire Department who then proceeded to push the dumpster, whose sides had been sprayed with the words, “Justice” and “Fuck pigs”, to a nearby sidewalk.
Cops showed much more restraint than yesterday evening when they repressed a peaceful protest in the same corner by shooting military grade rubber bullets at men, women and children, indiscriminately, and “accidentally” deploying a k-9 on the crowd leaving several people wounded, including a young mother who was trying to protect her months-old baby.
As usual, the victim of the shooting and the entire community has been vilified in the official police report and mainstream media coverage of the incident, which suggest the area is gang infested and its residents are all potential gang members.
Police Chief, John Welter, told a local paper that “the officers chased Diaz and observed him throwing unidentified objects onto rooftops” and was then shot once in the buttocks as he ran. When asked about the second shot to the victim’s head, his response was “it’s under investigation”. Welter also dismissed the accounts of witnesses of the shooting that offer a different account of the incident as mere “rumors”.
In a community forum hosted by the Police Department and the Orange County Human Relations Commission at Ponderosa Park last March to “clear rumors” about the execution-style murder of Martin Angel Hernandez by APD officers, Chief Welter stated that his officers were trained to “shoot to eliminate a threat”. Diaz’s case clearly shows these murders are being committed by trigger-happy cops. More protests are planned for the next days, especially next Tuesday, July 24, when the city council meets.