Update | By Katie Rucke
A seven-hour confrontation involving about 250 police officers and about 500 protesters broke up around 2 a.m. on Wednesday as protesters gathered outside the Anaheim City Hall to protest police brutality by the Anaheim Police Department and to urge city council members to investigate and reform the city’s police force.
Protests began about four days ago in response to police officers shooting and killing two men this past weekend, as well as the use of beanbag rounds and pepper spray on crowds filled with women and children.
Many residents have accused the police department of racial profiling, prompting Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait to ask for a federal review of the officer-involved shooting that led to the death of an unarmed man who police said was a suspected gang member.
Sgt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department told the Associated Press that Tuesday’s protest began peacefully, but it “evolved into clusters of people who threw rocks at police, lit trash can fires, threw a Molotov cocktail at a police car and smashed windows in businesses.”
A local petrol station was also shut down after protesters were seen fillings cans with gasoline, Some protesters were also seen throwing chairs through the windows of about six storefronts, including a local Starbucks.
In response, police used beanbag rounds and pepper balls to control the crowd and block access to the city council meeting taking place inside. About 24 people were arrested, 20 adults and four minors. Dunn said a police officer, two members of the media and some protesters were injured, but no one was hospitalized.
Two freelance journalists, along with reporters from KFI-AM covering the event, reported via Twitter that they were fired at by police even after they identified themselves as members of the media.
(Associated Press) – An Anaheim officer-involved shooting that left an unarmed man dead and led to a violent clash between witnesses and police has stirred anger for a second night.
Protesters gathered near the shooting scene Sunday night and expressed their outrage by setting fire to a Dumpster and moving it into the street numerous times as police monitored the scene from a helicopter.
The tense scene followed a day of protest where a crowd stormed the police headquarters lobby as the police chief prepared to hold a news conference to discuss the case.
Hours later and several miles from the Saturday afternoon shooting, there was a second deadly Anaheim police shooting.
Late Sunday, anti-gang officers spotted a gang member in a stolen sport utility vehicle, and a brief pursuit ended when three people jumped from the SUV and ran, authorities said.
Sgt. Bob Dunn said officers were chasing the suspects on foot when one of them fired one or two rounds at an officer. The officer retuned fire, killing the gunman.
Earlier Sunday, protesters chanted “no justice, no peace” and “cops, pigs, murderers” as officers stood by and watched a demonstration over the Saturday officer-involved shooting.
Police Chief John Welter said two officers were placed on paid leave after one of them fatally shot Manuel Diaz, 24, Saturday afternoon.
He said the officers approached three men who were acting suspiciously in an alleyway when they ran away. One of the officers chased Diaz to the front of an apartment complex where the shooting occurred.
Welter would not say what led the officer to shoot Diaz, citing an independent investigation by the county’s district attorney office. Police said Diaz was a known gang member.
The shooting sparked a melee in the neighborhood as some threw rocks and bottles at officers who were securing the scene for investigators to collect evidence. Sgt. Bob Dunn, the department’s spokesman, said that as officers detained an instigator, the crowd advanced on officers so they fired bean bags and pepper balls at them.
Video captured by a KCAL-TV crew showed a chaotic scene as some people ducked to the ground and others scattered screaming. A man is seen yelling at an officer even as a weapon is pointed at him; two adults huddled to shield a boy and girl. Meanwhile, a police dog charged at several people sitting on the grass, including a woman and a child in a stroller, before biting a man in the arm.
Dunn said the dog accidentally got out of a patrol car. He said he didn’t know whether police warned the crowd to disperse before firing the rubber bullets and pepper balls.
Throughout the night, police in multiple marked and unmarked squad cars attempted to control an unruly crowd gathered near the shooting scene, where some moved a Dumpster into an intersection and set its trash on fire.
Dunn said five people, two of them juveniles, were arrested during the unrest.