Night Out canceled in Anaheim over concerns about protests
In cities nationwide, people will gather at block parties, cookouts and exhibits Tuesday night for a National Night Out, a way to meet with first responders and learn about local crime-prevention efforts.
But in Anaheim, a city rocked by protests and violence, the event designed to bridge law enforcement and the public had to be canceled.
Officials said they learned of planned protests that would have disrupted the National Night Out, which was scheduled to be held Tuesday evening in the city's sprawling Stoddard Park.
Sgt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department said that organizers tried to find a different location for the event, but couldn't on such short notice. He said the department was trying to arrange a similar program in the near future.
Anaheim has been rife with tension in recent weeks after two fatal officer-involved shootings last month, sparking a number of protests.
At least nine people were arrested at one demonstration outside police headquarters earlier this month. In a previous incident, protesters threw rocks and bricks at officers and started fires in trash bins, prompting police to fire non-lethal rounds to disperse the crowd and arrest 24 people.
National Night Out, organized by the National Assn. of Town Watch, began in 1984 as a way to educate the public on crime-fighting efforts on the first Tuesday of each August. More than 15,000 communities will take part this year, according to the association.
-- Rick Rojas
Photo: Police presence at recent protest in Anaheim. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Los Angeles Times