Dispatches From Anaheimistan

A week after shootings that roiled the city, Anaheim still looks like a warzone

By the time July 29's protest at the Anaheim Police Department headquarters began at noon, everyone was ready. The television news vans—at least half a dozen of them—were lined up, their satellite dishes extended to the sky. Rows of uniformed officers sat atop horses, each one equipped with a clear-plastic riot visor. Behind the police station, in a parking lot, was a laager of law-enforcement vehicles: armored cars, SUVs, pickups, paddy wagons and tactical-assault vehicles, all painted black.

In front of the station, a crowd of hundreds had gathered: members of Occupy Oakland, Los Angeles and Orange County; various anarchists wearing ski masks and scarves and carrying the famous Wobbly-era flag of a black cat arched to strike; as well as family members of people shot by Anaheim police. They shouted slogans designed to inflame the tempers of stone-faced officers standing behind barricades and clutching batons and shotguns.

"Oink oink, bang, bang, every day, the same old thang," one group shouted.

As cops on horses trotted past the crowd, others chanted, "Get those animals off those horses!"

A few particularly incensed protesters trailed after a cop whose mount had just taken a dump in the street. "Are you going to clean up after your horse?" demanded one.

"I don't even let my dog shit in the street," remarked another.

The cop didn't answer, and despite the massive display of military force, the officers kept their tempers under control. At about 2 p.m., hundreds of people marched south on Harbor Boulevard in an attempt to make their presence felt at the gates of the Magic Kingdom. As the group left, a trio of cops in floppy, Special Forces-style hats who were peering down from the roof of the police station pointed what resembled cameras with telephoto lenses at them.

As the protesters snaked along Ball Road, they were tracked by vehicles with runner boards laden with officers. When they reached the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Ball Road, about a block north of Disneyland, cops in full battle regalia made a valiant stand for the Mouse and diverted the throng east through nearby neighborhoods.

One demonstrator told an officer he wanted to go to Disneyland. "It's closed" was the reply.

"I have a ticket," the marcher insisted, before heading east, away from the Happiest Place On Earth. (BF)

* * *

As protesters moved south from police headquarters, the cops followed, some in black vans, which passed by with SWAT officers in body armor hanging onto the sides of the vehicles, ready to deploy, as helicopters hovered ahead. The closest the two groups came to clashing happened about 15 minutes into the march, near Ball Road, when some 20 horse-mounted Orange County Sheriff's deputies and Santa Ana police officers chased demonstrators off the street and onto the sidewalk.

As they scattered, the protesters hurled curses and insults at police. "Save a life," shouted one. "Kill yourself!"

As the police corralled protesters, one officer, evidently impatient with the stragglers, seemed to be seething with rage. He nearly lost control of his horse, which, for a few terrifying seconds, tilted toward the demonstrators on the sidewalk, dangerously close to toppling over.

Two blocks farther south, protesters reached the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Ball Road, where police horses and the Anaheim SWAT team formed a half-circle, their weapons drawn. Unlike at previous protests, there were no projectiles thrown at the cops. Instead, many demonstrators looked visibly scared. "Are they going to shoot us?" one person asked.

Police issued no orders to disperse, instead repeating their demand that protesters stick to the sidewalk. But more than 100 of them sprinted down a side street; they were followed by officers, who quickly surrounded them.

Atef Nadal, an Anaheim resident who ran with the group, said that Latino residents started to come out of their homes, offering water and support, even hosing down some of the sweat-drenched protesters. "They were throwing their fists in the air and showing they were sympathetic with what we were protesting against, which is police brutality and harassment in Anaheim neighborhoods," he said.

As police moved in on the demonstrators, prepared to make arrests, residents screamed at the police, "Leave them alone!" and, "Go home!" Within moments, officers put away their batons, apparently acting in response to an order from superiors to back up and mount up. No arrests were made, and protesters, who swiftly moved onto the sidewalks, passed around the police blockade without incident. (AS)

* * *

Meanwhile, in front of Anaheim City Hall, a separate group called We Are Anaheim, or Somos Anaheim, held a march to protest not only the recent, back-to-back officer-involved shootings, but also the subsequent violence of demonstrators, who so far have thrown bottles, broken store windows and engaged in scattered acts of looting. Between 100 and 200 demonstrators wore white shirts and held signs supporting neither side of the police-brutality issue: "Respect Our Neighborhood," "No More Violence" and "We Walk for Peace."

Despite the large number of people, an eerie quiet held sway. In fact, the lack of noise was deliberate. According to protest co-organizer Veronica Rodarte, of Anaheim, her group chose to march in complete silence.

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15 comments
ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

Anaheimijuana is more like it. Such a quaint nice town once. You could go to Disneyland and paddle a canoe before heading over to Melodyland and hear Ralph Wilkerson and his musical theater. Today it is overrun with smelly barrios brimming with Hispanic gangs and their supporters... which led to this situation in the first place, of course.

vivienweisman
vivienweisman like.author.displayName 1 Like

Why does it say no arrests were made? there were 11 atleast? but The OC knows that as they have reported it.

cynthia241
cynthia241 like.author.displayName 1 Like

"not one Latino has ever won an election?" are you kidding me?! Current Councilmember Lorri Galloway has repeatedly insisted that she is a Latina, and Richard Chavez and Bob Hernandez just left Council in the last elections. It is this kind of ignorant rant that makes me nuts. If the people of Anaheim want Districts (shown to create conflict, corruption, and financial waste and redundancy) at least base the arguments on FACTS!

swatgunner
swatgunner

That's a lot of grease in the streets. The APD should equip their officers with lots of Simple Green.

BobSqualonero
BobSqualonero

I read "Dispatches from Anaheimistan", and when I saw the picture of the police, SWAT officers, I initally thought it really was a picture of US troops in Afghanistan.  But when I saw the white, picket fence and the tree shrubs in the background, I realized it was Anaheim, CA, USA.

 

By the way, the acronym "SWAT", stands for Special Weapons And Tactics, and it's a good thing too, because if they were initially called Tactical Weapons Assult Team, they're acronym woud be "TW....uh, never mind. ;-)

BobSqualonero
BobSqualonero like.author.displayName 1 Like

I read "Dispatches from Anaheimistan", and when I saw the picture of the police, SWAT officers, I initally thought it really was a picture of US troops in Afghanistan.  But when I saw the white, picket fence and the tree shrubs in the background, I realized it was Anaheim, CA, USA.

 

By the way, the acronym "SWAT", stands for Special Weapons And Tactics, and it's a good thing too, because if they were initially called Tactical Weapons Assult Team, they're acronym woud be "TW....uh, never mind. ;-)

guerro
guerro

"not one Latino has ever won an election, despite the fact that cultural group makes up more than half of the population."

 

How many are eligible to vote?  Illegals and convicted felons must account for much of that "half the population".

RJ_Steelworth
RJ_Steelworth like.author.displayName 1 Like

The horse was just leaving a meal for the occupy meat heads.

Whophantom
Whophantom like.author.displayName 1 Like

 "Despite the massive display of military force". AKA, The Goon Squad. This is how Syria & the Middle East treats their people.  Time for a revolution if Cops can;t talk to the people they are suppose to protect & serve.Or, it's time we shoot back!

 
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