Just after 3 p.m. in Anaheim, law enforcement officers knocked down an unarmed male protester in the street for an as yet known reason and police--some oddly wearing military combat equipment and camouflage--reacted with hostility to citizens who tried to film the event.
While two officers handcuffed the suspect, other cops rushed up, formed a perimeter, pointed rifles directly at the faces of photographers, snarled and screamed, "Back up!"
In response, some protesters shouted at horseback police and repeatedly chanted, "Get the animals off the horses!"
Tensions seemed to rise and fall rhythmically. There were moments when protesters and police merely stare at each other and then there were times when it looked like either side might initiate violence. As a backdrop, protesters beat makeshift drums and chanted while a police helicopter circled low and passing drivers honked their horns.
Citizens are protesting what they believe is a pattern of police brutality--especially a rash of unnecessary, suspicious police killings of unarmed Latinos.
The Weekly's Brandon Ferguson, Amber Stephens, Dave Lieberman and Gustavo Arellano are filing Twitter reports from the scene.
Ferguson overheard protesters chanting:
"Kill yourself; Save a life!" (to cops on horses).
"No justice; no peace; no racist police!"
"Fuck you, pigs!"
"Hey, hey, ho, ho. These fucking cops have got to go!"
Arellano, who has recorded several arrests in his posts, saw riot police stuffing their faces earlier at a food truck called Baconmania.
Stephens watched "Occupy" forces from Los Angeles, San Diego and Oakland join with local protesters in front of the police department.
And poor Lieberman.
Protesters continually think the veteran Weekly food contributor is a police plant. Perhaps to gain what has been evasive street cred, he labeled horseback cops the "Mr. Ed Brigade."
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All's not humorous though. There are dead serious SWAT sharpshooter perched atop the Anaheim Police Department headquarters. Police and their sympathizers maintain that heavily armed troops of cops must be aggressive and even lethal when they become frightened for their own safety.
The big, lingering question in the crowd: Will hostilities get worse before this day is over? According to some reporters at the scene, the answer is: most likely.