Anaheim protests: Stop the violence, shooting victim's mom says
The family of a man fatally shot by an Anaheim officer disputed the police union's version of events, but also implored the community for peace.
"We will stand by and march for you all in a lawful manner," said Genevieve Huizar, the mother of Manuel Diaz, who was shot by Anaheim police Saturday.
"I watched my son take his last breath," she said in tears. "Please, please, please stop the violence. It's not going to bring my son back."
Huizar made the statements Wednesday alongside her attorney, who has filed a federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit against the Anaheim Police Department.
The Anaheim police union issued a statement saying that the officer had fired in self-defense after seeing Diaz, a documented gang member, holding a "concealed object in his front waistband with both hands."
At that point, "the officer opened fire on Diaz to stop the threat," said Kerry Condon, the union president.
But Dana Douglas, an attorney for the Diaz family, said the statement was inaccurate.
She said Diaz was not reaching for a weapon or throwing drugs on a roof.
"Not a single witness has corroborated that version of the story," she said.
Douglas called on the department to name the officers.
Huizar said her son was a "good-hearted" person who went from playing T-ball in fourth grade to basketball and football in high school. She said he loved his 14 nieces and nephews and that she had a special bond with him as her only son.
"My son to me was the best son anyone could want," she said.
Huizar said her son had worked at various grocery stores, and joined the job corps, eventually working with the Long Beach district attorney's office. He was unemployed at the time of his death.
"His future was to get married; his future was to have a son," she said.
Diaz had a criminal record that included various drug and weapons charges. Huizar said he had done is time for the offenses and was interested in getting a job.
As Huizar left the courthouse she became overwhelmed with emotion, at one point collapsing into the arms of family members and emitting a guttural sob.
Diaz grew up in the neighborhood he was shot in. The family now lives in Santa Ana.
--Nicole Santa Cruz in Orange County