Anaheim Protests Spin Out of Control

A shooting by police in Anaheim, CA has led to four days of protests which seem to be growing more unruly with each passing day. Last night, 24 people were arrested after windows at local businesses were broken and several trash bins were set on fire. 

The story began Saturday when Manuel Diaz was shot by police. Anaheim PD says Diaz, who had a criminal record for drug and weapons charges and went by the name "Stomper," was confronted by police and appeared to reach for something in his waistband. Officers shot twice, killing him, but no gun was found at the scene. An attorney hired by the family says Diaz was unarmed and was shot in the back and then in the head as he fell. Amateur video on YouTube shows the scene immediately after the shooting. Early on in the clip, a bystander can be heard saying that Diaz is still alive.

A crowd formed to protest the shooting and fairly quickly things got out of hand. Officers say people in the crowd threw rocks and bottles at officers. This video report by KCAL9 shows police responding by firing pepper balls and releasing a dog into a crowd of people which included women and young children. Anaheim PD later said the dog was released accidentally:

By Sunday, protesters had grown in numbers. A weekly protest at police headquarters which has been ongoing for several months became more animated. This appears to be video of the Sunday protest. Protesters can be seen chanting slogans as uniformed officers stand in the doorway to prevent them from entering the building.

With the city already on edge, another incident Sunday served to further inflame the issue. In an unrelated incident officers tried to pull over a car and became involved in a high speed chase. The driver eventually crashed and he and two others got out and ran. According to police, Joel Mathew Acevedo, 21, fired a gun at officers and was shot dead.

By Tuesday afternoon between 600-1,000 people gathered to march and protest the police. Video of the event shows them carrying signs and blocking traffic. As night fell, the protests became a riot. Protesters smashed windows at a local Starbucks and damaged as many as 20 businesses in all.

Twenty-four people were arrested in the mayhem Tuesday night. In the wake of the violence, the mother of the man shot by police Saturday called for calm at a press conference Wednesday, even as she hoped the officers responsible for the "execution" of her son would be arrested. Meanwhile, a video posted by Anonymous calls for a nationwide revolution based on the officer use of force seen in the KCAL video above. It's not clear to what extent the Occupy movement has been involved in the protests. It appears not very significantly so far.


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