ANAHEIM — On Tuesday afternoon, approximately 200 people, stood outside the Anaheim City Council Chambers unable to get in because the room was filled to capacity. Six police officers, dressed in riot gear, stood in front of the doors resisting taunts from residents angry over the officer involved shooting over the weekend of an unarmed alleged gang member. Some residents have called the shooting of Manuel Angel Diaz, 25, an execution. Diaz’s mother has filed a $50 million wrongful death suit in federal court. The attorney for Diaz’s mother said he was shot in the back, then fell to his knees and was shot again in the head.
Protests by neighborhood residents on Saturday escalated when officers fired bean-bags and rubber bullets into a crowd of residents demanding answers. A police dog attacked several of the residents, including a mother and her child in a stroller. Police claim the dog accidentally escaped from his handler’s control. Last nights melee was the fourth straight night, and most violent, of protests over the shooting.
After a while standing outside City Hall the protesters moved onto Anaheim Blvd. which had been closed off, spreading out to the two nearest intersections at Lincoln Avenue and Broadway blocking traffic. Police officers from Anaheim, Garden Grove, Brea, Fullerton, and Tustin attempted to control the crowd. As the crowd grew, tensions became elevated. Almost inevitably, some protesters began taunting officers with more than words, throwing bottles and rocks at the officers as they attempted to clear the streets.
At 9 p.m. officers ordered protesters to disburse, declaring an unlawful assembly. Soon after, police started firing pepper-spray bullets at the feet of protectors, as well as bean-bag projectiles into the crowds. In response, some protesters began to vandalize public and private property including breaking out the windows of a near by Starbucks.
Protests went on into the night, with police restoring order early in the morning Wednesday. The Orange County Register reports that at least 20 people were arrested and five injured in the melee, including two reporters from the Register. The City Council meeting ended early because of the protests. Before they adjourned the Council voted 5-0 to request that the U.S. Attorney investigate the recent officer involved shootings.