Anaheim Police Chief Fears Riots in City After Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Riot cops on the streets of Anaheim two years ago
Riot cops on the streets of Anaheim two years ago
Matt Oliver

The Anaheim Police Department is still plagued by "riot fear" more than two years after unrest erupted in the city's downtown. The reason? It's not over the Orange County District Attorney's office clearing APD's Nick Bennallack in the fatal shooting of unarmed 25-year-old Manuel Diaz.

According to a letter obtained by the Weekly, the cause for concern this time around is possible protests after a Ferguson grand jury decides whether or not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for gunning down unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

With a decision expected as soon as Friday, Anaheim police chief Raul Quezada addressed an inter-faith organization yesterday about the situation.

"We in law enforcement know there are planned protests all over the nation for the 'day after' the announcement," the chief wrote to the Anaheim Religious Community Council (ARCC). "Spontaneous protests and criminal behavior related to the announcement may also be reasonably anticipated the day of the announcement."

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Quezada, who before becoming chief was the APD's Incident Commander during its GI Joe-militarized response to protesters two years ago, went on to note that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency on Monday. "It's practical to assume protests could reach Anaheim considering the civil unrest we experienced here just two years ago," the chief added.

"Civil unrest" instead of "riots"? Wow, is Chief Quezada listening to Democracy Now?

Ludicrously expecting the worst of Anaheim is nothing new for Anaheim's po-po. Last year "tone setter" meetings were held ahead of the OCDA's March 20 report on the Diaz killing. APD went so far as to set up a command post by La Palma Park, and one of its ghetto birds whirled over the department's headquarters. What happened? Protesters simply shouted down the first city council meeting after the decision, marched outside city hall and held their signs.

This time ARCC is being tapped to help set the tone. "I ask for your prayers and communication to your respective congregations asking for peace and patience during the Ferguson Grand Jury report release and the weeks following," Quezada writes. "With your help, I'm confident, no matter what the Grand Jury's finding is, those in our community will be responsible and respectful as they respond to the situation unfolding in Ferguson."

I'll betcha a falafel sandwich at Kareem's nothing's going to happen--who wants to take the bet?

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2

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