More Rioting in California: Police Fired into Crowds of Women and Children, Killed Manuel Diaz

July 24th, 2012

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Riot police fired bean bag rounds and pepper balls into a crowd of protestors late Tuesday outside City Hall as councilmembers inside voted unanimously to ask the U.S. attorney’s office to investigate recent officer-involved shootings, including one of an unarmed man.

The back-to-back weekend shootings have sparked four days of protests. A crowd of protesters who were shut out of the council meeting because there was no more room grew violent, tossing rocks and bottles at police and ignoring warnings to disperse.

Officers formed lines to try to contain the crowd as residents set fire to trash cans, loudly taunted police and swarmed a Starbucks, breaking windows.

Police helicopters hovered from above as colorful fireworks from nearby Disneyland lit up the sky.

At least two people were arrested, police Sgt. Bob Dunn said. At one point, police shut down a gas station when protesters were seen filling canisters with gas.

The killing of Manuel Diaz and another man on Sunday have taken the tally of shootings by police officers in this Orange County city to six so far this year, up from four a year before. Five of the incidents have been fatal.

Diaz’s family on Tuesday filed a civil rights lawsuit seeking $50 million in damages from the city of Anaheim and its police department, claiming he was shot while running away, said lawyer James Rumm.

Maria, who wouldn’t give her last name because she said she fears the police, shouts “no mas”, at a memorial on Anna Drive in Anaheim, Calif. for Manuel Angel Diaz, 25, of Santa Ana, Monday, July 23, 2012. Diaz was shot and killed by Anaheim police on Saturday. “It affects us a a community”, she said. “It’s not right what they did to us, instead of protecting us they assault us.” Another protest is planned for Tuesday. MAGS OUT; LOS ANGELES TIMES OUT Photo: The Orange County Register, Paul Bersebach / AP {SFGate}

The Murder of Manuel Diaz

A near-riot broke out in Anaheim, California on Saturday after a police shooting left one man dead and angry witnesses began throwing bottles at police offers. Police responded by firing bean bags and rubber bullets into a crowd of terrified women and children and even loosed a police dog on one woman and her baby.

Residents, who have recently been complaining about alleged police violence, told KCAL 9 News that Manuel Diaz was running away from police who had attempted to speak with him when he was shot from behind with a bullet that hit him in the buttocks. He fell to his knees and was struck in the head by another bullet. Police handcuffed the motionless man and he was taken to the hospital, where he died three hours later.

However, it was what happened after residents had blocked off a street and set fire to a dumpster that left even the KCAL reporters shocked. Not only did the police fire on women and children, hitting at least one young boy, but a police dog was allowed to attack a mother with her child..

“They just released the dog and I had my baby in the stroller,” the hysterical mother told the news team. “The dog just grabbed me with his teeth.”

According to reporter Jay Jackson, dozens of people were filming the event with their cellphones, and four different people told him “that police officers offered to buy their video from them without any explanation.”

Update: On Sunday afternoon, protesters gathered in the lobby of the Anaheim Police Department chanting “No justice, no peace” and “Justice for Manuel.”

The demonstration came at the same time as a police press conference, during which it was announced that two officers involved in the fatal shooting have been placed on paid leave, pending a full investigation of the incident. Police Chief John Walter also indicated that the dog which rushed into the crowd biting people had accidentally escaped from a police vehicle.

“We are extremely sorry for the people who were bit,” Welter stated. “The city will be responsible for all medical bills associated with the dog. The canine officer responsible for the dog is devastated by this.”

Cover image: huffingtonpost