Anaheim on edge after police shootings, violent protests

by
July 26, 2012

Los Angeles Times

Anaheim city officials urged protesters to avoid violence as they tried to quell a series of melees that have occurred in the wake of a controversial fatal officer-involved shooting over the weekend.

“Anaheim is a strong community and a community that works together to solve its problems,” Mayor Tom Tait said at a news conference Wednesday morning. “I think it’s important for city officials to hear from people we serve … but violence and vandalism have no part in the conversation.”

Residents remained on edge, many claiming family members and friends remained in jail following the confrontation with police on Saturday evening.

Yolanda Delgado, 68, a longtime Anaheim resident, saw a group of young looters smashing the windows of a T-shirt store Tuesday night and began yelling at them.

At one point she scuffled with a young woman who she said was trying to steal shoelaces. The young woman punched her and bloodied her lip.

Delgado said she was incensed that rioters were destroying the property of innocent people. “I was ashamed of them – the stupidity, the ignorance,” she said. “This is what the Latino community is trying to [allievate]. They’re tired of being known just as thieves or gardeners or housekeepers.”

Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, said anger over the weekend shooting reflects wider woes in Anaheim’s poorest communities, which suffer from unemployment, overcrowding and gang activity.

“It’s a hot summer, school’s out, and frustrations from the economy are certainly being felt,” Kennedy said. “There are really good families in these neighborhoods that are just struggling to survive. They have fears their child will get in between the gang members and police.”

The FBI has agreed to review the shooting.

Anaheim officials said they have also asked state officials to launch a review of the Saturday incident, which is already being probed by the Orange County district attorney. The district attorney has asked the public to share any photos or video of the shooting and its aftermath.

During unrest Tuesday night, people grabbed rocks from a construction site at Santa Ana Street and Anaheim Boulevard and hurled them at officers. Others in the area ignited a fire in the weeds and in trash bins as they were chased by police.

To read more, visit: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/07/anaheim-on-edge-after-police-shootings-violent-protests.html

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