Anaheim protesters demand 'bad cops' be fired
With Anaheim bracing for more protests this weekend, city officials are hoping federal authorities launch an independent investigation of the shooting that sparked several days of unrest.
Seeking to calm tensions, Mayor Tom Tait and other city officials met Friday with the FBI and U.S. attorney's office staff and asked them to look into the recent shootings.
In a statement after the meeting, the FBI said it would review evidence and reports by the Orange County district attorney's office to determine whether a federal investigation is warranted, though sources said that at this stage the U.S. attorney's office and Justice Department are not initiating a civil rights probe.
Protests over police conduct have rocked Orange County's largest city since July 21, when police fatally shot an unarmed man, Manuel Diaz, 25, who they said was evading arrest. A day later, police shot and killed Joel Acevedo, 21; police say he fired on officers during a foot chase.
A group of about a dozen demonstrators gathered in Anaheim's Stoddard Park late Friday, holding up signs at passing cars.
Louisa Sanchez, who held a poster with the names of men and the dates they were killed by Anaheim police over the years, said she wanted greater accountability and better communication from the department, especially in dealing with shootings that are unjustified.
"They need to get rid of the bad cops," she said, identifying herself as a family friend of Acevedo. "They're not all bad, but the ones that are make them all look bad."
Friday's incident marked the seventh officer-involved shooting in Anaheim this year, five of which have been fatal. The city had four officer-involved shootings in 2011.
The shootings sparked four days of protest that culminated in a violent clash between 1,000 demonstrators and officers outside a packed City Council meeting Tuesday night. By the time it was over, 24 protesters had been arrested, 20 buildings damaged, seven people injured and dozens of rounds of nonlethal ordnance had been fired to disperse the crowd, some of whom started fires in trash bins and threw rocks at police.
The latest shooting occurred about 3:15 a.m. Friday, when police responding to a burglary call shot at the suspects but apparently did not hit anyone.
After chasing a suspect on foot, officers approached a man in a black pickup who they suspected was an accomplice, Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn said. The driver started the engine and accelerated toward one of the officers, who fired his weapon out of fear for his safety as the driver fled.
The incident came as demonstrators planned protests near Disneyland on Saturday and outside police headquarters on Sunday.
Activists nationwide have mobilized online to organize marches and demonstrations in support of Anaheim protesters. The anti-establishment group known as Anonymous posted Anaheim Police Chief John Welter's address, phone number and other personal information on various Internet sites in protest over the shootings.
-- Richard Winton and Joseph Serna
Photo: Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait addressed the media Wednesday with Anaheim Police Chief John Welter regarding the Anaheim protesters. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times.