Anaheim Protests Reveal ‘Climate of Anger’ at Police

BY Larisa Epatko  July 24, 2012 at 4:54 PM EDT

Saturday’s fatal shooting by police of an unarmed man in Anaheim, Calif., prompted days of protests against a police department that some residents say is biased against Hispanics. Video of the police reaction to the protests — posted on online video sites — has added fuel to the fire.

Anaheim has a history of what residents consider unfair treatment by police toward Latinos, explained David Nazar, reporter for PBS SoCal, which covers the greater Los Angeles area. “There’s an undercurrent and climate of anger about city policing,” based on several officer-involved shootings earlier this year, he told us.

On Saturday, 25-year-old Manuel Angel Diaz, known as “Stomper”, was shot after he ran away from police who had approached him and two other Hispanic men standing in front of a vehicle. It was unknown why police approached them.

A protest later that day escalated into violence when the protesters began throwing rocks and bottles at police, and officers responded by firing bean bags and pepper balls into the crowd.

“What exactly happened during the shooting, we don’t know. We’re still investigating that,” said Sgt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department in this KCAL9 News report.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said Monday that he has asked the state attorney general’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office to investigate as well. “Like many residents, I am very, very concerned with what occurred in our city on Saturday night,” he said in a statement. The two officers involved were placed on paid leave.

The protests are expected to continue Tuesday evening at an Anaheim city council meeting.

We heard more from reporter David Nazar on Tuesday’s NewsHour (starts at 0:40):

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