Dozens of Anaheim residents outraged by the recent spate of officer involved shootings focused their anger addressing the city council again last night. A phalanx of news vans was parked on Lincoln Avenue as hundreds of people gathered in the massive auditorium at Anaheim High School. The location was specially reserved to accommodate a large crowd and avoid a repeat of July 24 when council chambers reached capacity and people rioted in the streets.
Though the anger was palpable in last night's public comments, for the most part, things remained civil. However, as Genevieve Huizar spoke of her son Manuel Diaz's death at the hands of officers, an unidentified man in a suit loudly shouted “You're a terrible mother.”
As he stormed off, some in the crowd booed and he could be heard muttering, “You brought this on yourself.”
Other speakers included Donna Castro, the mother of Joel Acevedo, shot by police the day after Diaz. After criticizing the media for focusing solely on the status of some residents as gang members, she recounted a story from last May when residents say undercover officers entered the neighborhood on Guinida Lane in a
repossessed impounded car belonging to rival gang members attempting to incite violence.
Anaheim Police Spokesman Sgt. Bob Dunn declined to comment on what Castro claims she was told.
“I don't have any specific information on that,” he said. “I can't answer that.”
Not all public comments at last night's meeting expressed sympathy for those shot by cops. Kerry Condon, the president of the Anaheim Police Association, said his group supported the officers involved in the recent incidents.
“Thank God our officers are alive and able to go home to their families,” Condon said, adding that two months ago gang members on Guinida Lane confronted and shot at two officers. When the city clerk told Condon his time was up, someone in the audience shouted, “It was up a long time ago.”
Other areas of discussion included calling for changes to Anaheim's current practice of holding at-large elections. Many in the crowd displayed signs demanding district-based elections. Community leaders argue the city, which is 52 percent Latino, isn't equally represented. None of the councilmembers are hispanic and four of five live in the city's affluent Anaheim Hills neighborhoods.