Anaheim's Cruzaders

Families of police-shooting victims protest their plight

Frustrated with anti-gang injunctions and what residents denounced as unwarranted police harassment, meeting participants lashed out at Anaheim officers, even directly challenging a few who were in attendance for acting similar to neighborhood bullies. Chief John Welter, who was present at the meeting, promised to address complaints of police misconduct, but such assurances have yet to quell the feelings of anger and resentment in the community.

Family members of Cruz, Whitehouse and Hertl also spoke up during the public-comment session of a June 5 Anaheim City Council meeting. "I don't want any other families to go through this ever again," Conroy says. "It's been nine years, and we still have no justice and no closure. I don't want to see any more deaths by the Anaheim Police Department. I want to see policy changes so this type of behavior does not continue."

On July 19, 2010, the Orange County district attorney's office sent a letter to the Anaheim Police Department about the Cruz shooting. "We have reviewed materials consisting of District Attorney Investigator's interviews of various officers and witnesses to the incident," the letter states. "After a thorough review of all the facts and the applicable law in this incident, we have concluded that the evidence does not support a finding of criminal culpability on the behalf of any officers at the Anaheim Police Department."

Smith says she never received a copy of the letter. Because the shooting preceded Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' new transparency policy regarding officer-involved deaths, which has seen lengthier reports on more recent incidents go public on the DA's website, no other details of the investigation are available. Since the new implementation of the policy, the detailed findings of five officer-involved shootings in Orange County have been made public, including two fatal and three non-fatal shootings. All five shootings—including a Feb. 17, 2011, incident that wounded Anaheim resident Travis Mock—were upheld.

On March 10, 2010, Smith filed a civil lawsuit against Anaheim, calling Cruz's death an "execution." She visits her son's grave regularly, most recently on Father's Day. Smith is able to talk about her grief as a mother, but citing a court order of confidentiality, she refused to specifically discuss the case. "All I can say is what I know makes me want to fight back harder," she says. "They always come up with an excuse for why this keeps happening. That's why we are out there, and that's why we won't stop until we start seeing some justice."

 

This article appeared in print as "Cruzaders: Families of police-shooting victims bring Kelly Thomas-style protests to Anaheim."

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13 comments
iain39
iain39

The police have clearly been given authorisation to terrorise the public into submission.  I've never seen such violence against the public, except at times of crumbling regimes like in Saddam's Iraq, or Assad's Syria, or Mubarak's Egypt, or Akhmenijad's Iran.Ever since the 9/11 disaster was exposed as a massacre of American people to justify overseas wars, people have started to understand the nature of the US government.  Some people are even jokingly referring to America as "Dumfukhistan" to paint it in its true colours as a terrorist state.

 

When 275,000,000 people sensed they've been conned into sending their kids to die in a war for the billionaires, trouble started.  When that mob gets angry, there is going to be all hell to pay, and Obama's bosses know this all too well.

Guest
Guest

Not even a good hit piece by the OC Weekly. If you are going to try and stir up the people at least put a little effort into it. Interesting that none of the "victims" family mentioned if there actually was a gun or not. Plus, I'm not impressed if the "victim" Cruz was a father of five, Osama Bin Laden had over 20 children. Should I have shed a tear for him? In addition, what I find funny about the OC Weekly (and I mean Ha Ha! funny) is the way they denigrate "mainstream" newspapers such as the OC Register and LA Times for not questioning the police agencies and DA's Office version of shootings but will put up unchallenged grieving families accounts of incidents as if they are the gospel truth. Did it ever occur to you that maybe Johnny Gangbanger's family might actually lie to you?

Prawda
Prawda

"They always come up with an excuse for why this keeps happening. That's why we are out there, and that's why we won't stop until we start seeing some justice." It all starts in the home lady. I see little future bangers at the park and their parents dress them like little hoodlums....

Prawda
Prawda

"They didn't try to Taser him," she says. "One of them just starting shooting with a 12-gauge shotgun and another one with a 9 millimeter." So it's dark, police show up after being called to assist (my guess the 911 call said he was armed with a knife) the perp has something in his hand....so is the police officer supposed to wait until your drunken relative shows them what he has is his hand ? Im an officer, i see a weapon, you turn towards me ,game over. I am going home because i am not going to lose my life over another drunken dispute at your house. Put down the booze, the guns, your fists. Start acting like you live in a civilized society. WTF do you expect?

Chrisjacobs
Chrisjacobs

The journalistic rage of a dorky white chick. Bwaha. Fail.

Retired-USAF Enlisted
Retired-USAF Enlisted

Although it's good that the media let's this out in the open, I believe in being fair, and I would like to hear what police officers say about this. Are there any police who read this column and what do you say? The reason I'm skeptical is that police apprehend people all day long especially in Anacrime (sic), so why they chose to shoot these specific people? At least, I've always felt that if you do exactly as the officer says, and don't argue, why would they shoot you for no reason? By contrast, I've travelled in foreign countries a lot and had ONLY one unpleasant encounter with the police but it was because of a language barrier, but I was very careful to smile and act polite, and then they just said to GO, as they couldn't make me understand what I had done wrong by my driving (it was speeding) (LOL), so I guess I could imagine that if a suspect didn't speak English and the police officer didn't speak Spanish, that maybe this could cause a dangerous miscommunication, but I would think police must have protocols for this to ensure they don't harm someone for not undestanding. Again, any police that can share your thoughts as I'd be very interested to hear their side.

Martinez072
Martinez072

::::::::::::DOESNT MAKE IT RIGHT:::::::::::::::::::::::::

Martinez072
Martinez072

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::DOESNT MAKE IT RIGHT::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

SPOKEN like TRUE Police man, who can comment about peoples drinking, and others relatives- If its so hard being  an OFFICER quit. and do every one a favor. I guess POLICE are the ONLY civil people out there... 

Martinez072
Martinez072

SPOKEN like TRUE Police man, who can comment about peoples drinking, and others relatives- If its so hard being  an OFFICER quit. and do every one a favor. I guess POLICE are the ONLY civil people out there...

iain39
iain39

You mean, like the Latino crowd of parents and children peacefully protesting another police mruder - the cops turn up and shoot into the crowd, and sick savage dogs on a mother holding a child!  With a police force like this, who needs terrorist enemies?  They're all wearing blue uniforms and shooting people.In fact if this happened in Iran, the New York Post would already be saying: "Mother, Toddler Allege Inappropriate Response: Why We Must Go To War With Dumfukhistan."

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

Nice for you to ridicule a college student—you're SUCH a big man!

 
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