Anaheim Police Protests Take a Violent Turn
ANAHEIM, California – Police in the southern California city of Anaheim arrested 24 last night when the 600-strong protest over a police shooting of an allegedly unarmed man took a dramatically violent turn.
Storefront windows in the neighborhood surrounding City Hall were smashed out in the second major clash between police officers and protestors over the shooting of a suspected gang member in Anaheim on Saturday afternoon, reports the Chicago Tribune. Anaheim law enforcement officers faced protestors who threw water bottles and rocks at the police, with some throwing lawn chairs through the windows of several businesses, including a Starbucks.
Between 250 riot police and over 600 demonstrators, 20 adults and four juveniles were arrested on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, according to officials.
Protestors gathered en masse at City Hall’s steps to protest the police shooting of an allegedly unarmed man with rumored gangland ties. The protestors are demanding an investigation into recent police shootings, and are calling for council members to reform the police force, which residents accuse of racial profiling, reports NBC News.
“We are happy to hear from any and all residents,” Mayor Tom Tait said. “But we will not accept any violent protests, vandalism or arson perpetrated under the guise of public protest.”
Despite the depiction of violent protest, some protestors argue that the police instigated the violence and that the demonstration has become violent in response to police brutality, reports CBS News. “We want a peaceful demonstration, but when the cops are pushing us off because they want to show that they have control, then they start hitting us with their batons,” said one demonstrator. “They hit a woman when we were just standing there voicing our opinion,” he said.
Last weekend’s killing has raised the tally of shootings by police officers in Anaheim to six so far this year, up from four a year before. The police union issued a statement defending the police’s actions, saying that the men killed had suspected gangland ties and criminal records. Furthermore, Manuel Diaz, the man gunned down Sunday, reportedly pulled an object from his waistband before police shot at him.