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Activists to 'lay siege' on Anaheim City Hall after police killings

July 24, 2012 |  5:00 am

Angry Anaheim residents and community activists are planning a rally at City Hall today in protest of a fatal officer-involved shooting over the weekend that prompted allegations of police brutality.

"We're planning a huge rally for [Tuesday], with multiple organizations all over California that are coming to lay siege on the steps of City Hall," said Joanne Sosa, a community activist with the Take Back Anaheim initiative.

"Why? Because we want change, because we want transparency," she said. "The residents are out here. They've set dumpsters on fire. They're absolutely incensed at what happened."

Manuel Angel Diaz, 25, was shot to death by an officer in an East Anaheim neighborhood on Saturday evening. The incident prompted protests from residents, who threw bottles and rocks at police. Police used pepper balls to disperse the angry crowd of about 100 that had gathered. In addition, a police dog was accidentally released into the crowd.

Then on Sunday night, police shot and killed a man in an unrelated incident. In that case, police in an unmarked car tried to pull over a vehicle. A chase began and the vehicle lose control and crashed. Two men and a woman fled on foot. A man fired at officers, who returned fire and killed one of the suspects, police said.

Anaheim Police Chief John Welter urged the public to let the investigative process "run its course."

“Quite frankly, I'm not going to let people continue to escalate this violence to the point where the general public is going to be threatened,” Welter said.

“I’m concerned that people are taking half-truths or rumors about what’s going on at these crime scenes, rather than waiting for the investigations to finish … causing people to think we’re indiscriminately shooting people,” he said. “From my opinion, my officers have the right to protect themselves and others.”

At a press conference Monday afternoon, Mayor Tom Tait said he is "very, very concerned" about Saturday's shooting. He said he has called for an independent review of the shooting by the state attorney general's office and the federal U.S. attorney's office.


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-- Christine Mai-Duc, Nicole Santa Cruz and Kate Mather