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Anaheim police protesters take message to Disneyland

July 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Protestors gathered Saturday outside Disneyland and at the scene of one of three officer-involved shooting that claimed a man's life a week ago.

The protesters were peaceful as they made their voices heard. They said they want the Anaheim police chief removed from his position and they want the police department put under a microscope to explain what is behind the string of shootings.

"What I hope to accomplish here today and the rest of us, [is] that the people are aware of what's happening here in the city of Anaheim and that we want the police to be accountable for their actions," said protester Yvonne Elizondo.

Demonstrators also gathered at the scene of the first shooting that sparked major protests in the city. Calling it a "sidewalk speak out," residents voiced their frustration with the police department and their actions last Saturday, saying that there was no reason for officers to open fire on 24-year-old pursuit suspect Manuel Diaz.

Authorities say Diaz, a documented gang member from Santa Ana according to police, reached for his waistband before he was shot and killed by officers July 21. Officers said Diaz, who had a criminal record, failed to heed orders and threw something as he fled police. It was later confirmed that Diaz was not armed.

Police also shot and killed Joel Acevedo, a documented gang member from Anaheim according to police. Officials say Acevedo shot at officers at the end of a pursuit July 22 in a stolen SUV.

A third shooting occurred Friday, when Anaheim police opened fire at a burglary suspect after he reportedly charged at officers with his car. That suspect was not injured and remains on the loose.

Anaheim police have doubled their patrol since Tuesday night - that's when protesters were angry they were not allowed in to the already-packed City Council meeting. People took to the streets and 20 businesses were vandalized. Officers arrested 24 people.

Barriers were also put up Friday around the Anaheim Police Department headquarters in the event any of the demonstrations nearby get out of hand. Authorities want to prevent people from vandalizing the building.

Also Friday, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait met with the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI. The two agencies have agreed to conduct an independent review of the use-of-force cases that have happened in the last week, as well as some other cases that happened earlier in the year.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.


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