Latino protests in Anaheim: A tale of two cities
Anaheim is the largest city in Southern California’s conservative Orange County and home to Disneyland which is called “The Happiest Place on Earth”. During the past week, the city has experienced two police killings that have resulted in a series of protests being organized against city and police officials by enraged Latino residents. The immediate issue that ignited these angry protests was the killing of 25 year-old Manuel Diaz on July 21, 2012.
Diaz, who was unarmed and talking to friends, ran as the police approached and was shot in the leg and then in the back of the head as he lay face down on the ground. An angry group of residents exited their homes and gathered to demand answers from the police at the scene. The police attempted to prevent any filming of the incident by witnesses instead of calling for an ambulance to aid the dying Diaz. An unnecessary confrontation was then created by the police as they resorted to violence rather than dialogue by firing rubber bullets and pepper balls at the growing crowd of concerned neighbors which included women and children. The residents became even more infuriated as a police dog was unleashed which proceeded to attack them and a passing family with a young baby.
A day later, another man named Joel Acevedo was shot and killed by police who alleged that he had fired at them. This was the seventh officer-involved shooting by Anaheim police this year with five being fatal. On Tuesday, July 24, a protest drew over a thousand angry people to City Hall which the police declared to be an unlawful assembly. This then led to a violent clash as the police attempted to aggressively disperse the enraged protesters whose simmering frustration has been fueled by years of growing unemployment, inferior education, police harassment and neglect by city officials.
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