This weekend the City of Anaheim, California made headlines for an outbreak of neighborhood violence that appears to be exacerbated by the local police. Anaheim, home of Disneyland, has experienced a series of officer involved shootings and allegations of police abuse in recent years. Just last month, citizens approached the City Council during a meeting asking their elected leaders to “do something about the rogue cops on their police force” or face a possible recall.
Anaheim, despite being famous for being home to Disneyland and professional sports teams, is a growing city of about 336,000 people. Slightly over half of the residents of Anaheim are Latino, and the area where the shootings took place over the weekend is in the heart of the barrio.
This weekend’s violent altercations occurred after the police shot an unarmed man on Saturday. The Orange County Register reported that three men were near a car and when Anaheim police officers tried to approach, the men fled on foot. One of the officers shot and killed 25 year old Manuel Angel Diaz, who the police describe as a “documented gang member.” Two officers involved in that shooting have been placed on paid leave.
On Saturday after the police shooting of Diaz, Anaheim residents gathered to in the neighborhood where the shooting took place to demand answers from their police force. At that gathering, CBS KCAL captured footage of the police firing rubber bullets into the crowd of residents that included women, children and babies. The CBS footage shows the police releasing a K-9 dog on a group that included children and a baby in a stroller.
Then on the following evening, the police shot and killed Joel Acevedo after a car pursuit. Acevedo was driving a car that was reportedly stolen.
The total number of officer involved shootings in Anaheim now stands at eight for this year, and the community is searching for answers. Last month the city indicated that it would hire an independent investigator to examine the police incidents, but that position has not yet been filled.
Presente.org, an advocacy organization that seeks to amplify the political voice of Latino communities, already launched a petition calling on California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the police altercations that happened over the weekend in addition to the other officer involved shootings.
Check out the footage below: