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Anaheim police protest: At least two arrests made, authorities say

July 29, 2012 |  4:39 pm

At least two people have been arrested in Anaheim as a crowd of about 250 demonstrators gathered outside police headquarters Sunday afternoon to protest two fatal police shootings.

Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn said it was unclear what the protesters had been arrested for, but that one arrest occurred in front of the police station and another when protesters were marching.

About 100 people have reconvened in front of the building after marching down Harbor Boulevard and Ball Road, briefly blocking traffic during a tense moment between protesters and police.

PHOTOS: Protests against Anaheim police shootings

Initially trailed by a handful of officers on horseback and in patrol cars as it marched down Ball Road, the crowd was later corralled by officers who tried to keep protesters on the sidewalk. The march came to a standstill at Lemon Street, where more than 100 officers from various law enforcement agencies -- including Santa Ana, Buena Park and Dana Point -- blocked Ball Road from traffic and the remaining 50 or so protesters.

At one point, a police horse reared onto the sidewalk and veered toward the crowd, raising shouts from protesters.

An officer told the group via megaphone that it was violating the California vehicle code by being in the street, prompting some protesters to turn back toward Harbor Boulevard. Shortly after 3 p.m., most of the police had left Ball Street, drawing applause from protesters.

As the crowd moved back down Harbor Boulevard toward the police station, it was followed by trucks and SUVs carrying police in riot gear.

Sunday's was the latest in a series of demonstrations staged in Orange County's largest city in the wake of two fatal police shootings last weekend.

Manuel Diaz, 25, was shot and killed by police July 21. Authorities said the unarmed man was avoiding arrest. The day after Diaz was killed, Anaheim police fatally shot Joel Acevedo, 21, who authorities say had fired on officers during a foot chase.

A third officer-involved shooting -- this one on Friday, in which police opened fire on a burglary suspect, who was unhurt -- was the city's seventh such shooting this year, five of which have been fatal. The city had four officer-involved shootings in all of 2011.

Anaheim resident Brad Owens, 55, watched protesters from the shade of a tree near the police station Sunday afternoon. He’s lived in the city for 20 years, he said, and is "not a fan" of how police handled the officer-involved shootings this week. Police Chief John Welter “has to go," he said.

“It’s a style of management. It has to be a mind set if so many people are doing it,” Owens said of the officer-involved shootings. “They’ve been aggressive and lethal.”

Elizabeth Munoz, 21, watched a group of protesters and police stand off outside her home near the intersection of Ball Road and Cambridge Street on Sunday afternoon. She’s frustrated with everything, she said: the police, the protesters and the fact that they were in her neighborhood.

“It’s not right. They’re coming down here where I live,” she said. “We don’t even have our own privacy. When we need the police, they’re not here, but when we don’t need the police, they’re here invading.”

“All this is unnecessary,” she said.


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-- Matt Stevens and Rick Rojas in Anaheim and Kate Mather in Los Angeles