Photos: Anaheim Police Fire Rubber Bullets, Pepper Balls On Angry Crowd Protesting Officer-Involved Shooting
Chaos erupted in the streets of Anaheim yesterday after residents protested the fatal shooting of a man by local police officers.
One witness said that the man killed in the shooting had his back to police. Other residents expressed concern over the circumstances of the shooting, and the way the police communicated with them in the moments afterward. A protest was planned around noon today, the Orange County Register reported.
Video captured images of Anaheim police firing rubber bullets into a crowd full of men, women and young children. A police dog was released on the crowd and it can be seen attacking residents (police claim the dog escaped by accident). Here's the report from KCAL 9 that includes the chaotic amateur video:
Residents told KCAL 9 reporter Jay Jackson that police offered residents who took video of the incident payment in exchange for handing over their footage (the OC Register also reported this). One resident Susan Lopez tearfully describes how a police dog bit her while she was hanging on to her child.
Sgt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department told the Los Angeles Times that police responding to the protest were "encircled" by residents who began throwing bottles and possibly rocks at them.
The protest was a response to the officer-involved shooting around 4 pm that afternoon. Dunn told the Times that two patrol officers approached three men in an alley in the 600 block of North Anna Drive. It's not clear why police officers began to chase them, but the men fled. One of the officers shot a man in front of an apartment complex a short while later in the 700 block of the street. The man was pronounced dead later that evening around 7 pm—but not before the crowd who witnessed the shooting protested.
The Orange County Register reported that family members identified the fatally shot man at Manuel Diaz. A woman identified as his niece said that he probably ran away from police officers because of his past experience with law enforcement. She told the Register: "He (doesn't) like cops. He never liked them because all they do is harass and arrest anyone."
One witness Crystal Ventura, 17, told the OC Register that she saw the shooting from about 20 feet away, and she said the suspect had his back to the officer and that the she saw the officer shoot the man once in the buttocks, causing him to fall on his knees. The officer then fired again hitting the man in the head. She said another officer then handcuffed the man who was no longer moving. She told the Register: "They searched his pockets, and there was a hole in his head, and I saw blood on his face."
Neighbors, friends and family gathered not far from where the shooting occurred to demand that Anaheim Police Chief John Welter answer their questions about what had just occurred. Yesenia Rojas, 34, told the Register: "We were all waiting for him to come and talk to the community and give us an explanation. Why kill this man?"
That's when police say someone in the crowd began throwing bottles, and the crowd began getting too close to police officers. Police responded with rubber bullets and pepper balls.
Later on in the evening residents continued to protest, lighting a dumpster on fire and blocking the as can be seen in the video below:
Here's footage of police rolling to the scene (which gives you a sense of scale of the response) later that evening:
As with all officer-involved shootings, the District Attorney's office will investigate. Councilwoman Lorri Galloway told the OC Register:
"I want community members to know that not only are we concerned about what happened but we are friends of the community. And as such, we will do everything we can to find the truth about what truly happened out there."
UPDATE 4 pm: We're getting some more updates about last night's event and today's protest through City News Service. A woman who said she was the shooting victim's sister confirmed for KNX radio that the victim's name was Manuel Diaz
, and she said he was 25, and family members say he was 24. She also said that he was shot in the back by a police officer.
At least three people were detained yesterday shortly after the shooting in the chaos just outside the apartment complex, according to Anaheim police. (It was not reported why they were detained or if they were later released.)
Anaheim Police Chief John Welter called a news conference around 1:30 p.m. to release details about the incidents. "We're not hiding anything," he told the crowd.
Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait called on the State Attorney General to conduct an
investigation, in addition to the District Attorney. At the press conference he said, "Whatever the truth is, we will own it."
A large crowd swarmed the lobby and began chanting "Justice for Manuel" and "cops, pigs, murderers," KNX reported.
We've added new pictures from today's protest at Anaheim police headquarters:
UPDATE 4:30 PM: Manuel Diaz was unarmed when he was fatally shot by police last night, according to The OC Register.
Welter told reporters that the two officers on patrol saw Diaz leaning up against a car and they suspected that something suspicious was going on. When officers approached the vehicle, two men in the car fled and Diaz took off running on foot. Police officers say that he was throwing unidentified objects onto rooftops as he ran. What prompted police to shoot him is not clear, Welter told reporters. The two police officers in the case have been placed on paid leave, Welter said.
Welter said that he did not know about allegation that police officers had offered residents money in exchange for footage, nor did he know whether the department had an explicit policy against this practice. He said the agency would look into these claims.
Diaz's sister Lupe Diaz, 29, told the Register her brother was unemployed at the time, but he had worked in offices and as a general laborer. She told the Register: "He was a bright soul. Fun. Caring. He'd never hurt a soul."