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After Another Night Of Near-Riots In Anaheim, Latinos Want Feds To Investigate

An injured pedestrian cries out to end the destruction of local properties after violence erupted between police officers and protesters during demonstrations to show outrage for the fatal shooting of Manuel Angel Diaz.
Jonathan Gibby
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An injured pedestrian cries out to end the destruction of local properties after violence erupted between police officers and protesters during demonstrations to show outrage for the fatal shooting of Manuel Angel Diaz.

Update at 5:36 p.m. ET. U.S. Attorney Will Investigate:

During a press conference today, Mayor Tom Tait asked for calm. He also said that the Office of the U.S. Attorney had agreed to investigate the shootings.

"The first step is to get to the truth," Tait said according to the Orange County Register. "That takes some time and patience, and that's what I'm asking for."

Our Original Post Continues:

It's quiet in Anaheim this morning after police put down a fourth day of angry protests that lasted past midnight. Some city residents are outraged over two deadly police shootings last weekend, and the police's subsequent handling of citizen protests this week.

At least 20 people were arrested yesterday, according to the Contra Costa Times, after protesters bunched up outside Anaheim city hall, where council members voted to ask the U.S. Attorney's office to investigate several deadly police shootings. Not everyone could get a seat inside the building and police turned away the overflow crowd.

At least five people were hurt in the melee that followed, according to The Los Angeles Times. And police once again deployed rubber bullets.

NPR member station KPCC has a dramatic report from a strip mall near city hall.

"Police helicopters hovered from above as colorful fireworks from nearby Disneyland lit up the sky," Corey Moore reports. "At one point, police shut down a gas station when protesters were seen filling canisters with gas."

Corey tells us about Yolanda Delgado, 68, who had decided to patrol the strip mall to keep protesters from looting.

At one point in the report, Delgado is punched in the face by one young protester. "Have some pride," she shouted.

George Rangel was also at the scene. He told Corey that he wasn't angry at the protesters for coming out against the shootings; he was angry at the way the protests have unfolded.

"There's no reason for the public to be acting like this," he said. "It's out of control. What we need is leadership within the Mexican community to lead these people."

In other parts of Anaheim, "protesters hurled rocks, traffic cones and other objects at police clad in riot gear as officers chased people along sidewalks and streets throughout the evening and fired less-than-lethal projectiles into crowds after giving a dispersal order," the Times reports. "Sirens wailed as officers formed skirmish lines and police from neighboring law enforcement agencies provided assistance."

As we wrote, the violence began Saturday with the deadly police shooting of Manuel Diaz, who was unarmed.

Now Diaz's family has filed a lawsuit against the city of Anaheim and the police department, according to The Los Angeles Times. It says the lawsuit alleges Diaz was shot when he was chased by officers, dropped to his knees and was shot in the back of the head.

Latino leaders are outraged over what they call "a history of brutality" against Latino residents. Five people have been killed in police shootings this year.

Saturday, Anaheim police unleashed dogs on protesters, including women and children. KCAL reporter Joe Jackson interviewed one woman who tried to protect her baby in a stroller. She was crying, saying that police started shooting suddenly and hit even little kids. She was distraught, saying the dog bit her.

Mayor Tom Tait has asked for a state and federal review of the shooting of Diaz.
Anaheim City council members voted unanimously to ask the U.S. Attorney to investigate the officer shootings. But last month Anaheim decided to hire an independent investigator to examine police shootings.

Meanwhile, Diaz's mother spoke to reporters near the site of the shooting. She called on residents to stop the violence.

"This is wrong and needs to stop on both sides," Genevieve Huizar said, according to the Times.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Korva Coleman is a newscaster for NPR.
Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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