It was there that the chief confronted the longtime activist, angrily saying, "Do I get a chance to refute all the bullshit lies you say at council? No."
The head of the Anaheim Police Department was apparently none too pleased with what Roberts had to say earlier during public comments. His three minutes at the podium wasn't something he originally planned on, but drew ire nonetheless.
As Welter sat in a reserved seat during the council meeting, the activist jotted down notes on a piece of paper a few rows back. When the line of speakers thinned out, Roberts took to the podium. Referencing an Al Jazeera Fault Lines documentary entitled Anaheim: A Tale of Two Cities, the resident took issue with statements made by Welter in the episode. The interviewer had brought up the issue of the militarized police presence in response to protests on July 29. The chief replied that he was "shocked" and unaware when he read the newspaper the next day and saw a photo of an armored vehicle driving down Anna Drive with SWAT members hanging from the side. It was something he alluded to in a New Year's Day interview in the Orange County Register as well.
Roberts wanted to seek differentiation between whether Welter was claiming to be not in the know about that particular deployment, for which a lieutenant was said to have been disciplined, or the overall militarization itself. On the day of the massive protests, the activist was busy taking photographs at different sites, including the main staging ground at Glover Stadium. He said during public comments that he saw a man on a motorcycle drive by there who resembled Chief Welter but wasn't able to snap a picture.
Roberts did take a great number of other photographs showing that anyone near Glover Stadium could sense the heightened militarization of the multi-agency operation.
me it would seem reasonable that Welter would be out to review the
operation that was taking place on July 29 given how massive it was," Roberts tells the Weekly. "That's why when I saw the motorcyclist, I didn't think anything of it."He chose his words with caution saying that the man in plain clothes looked like it could be the chief but may not have been. Roberts was measured in tone and certainly was not the first person to have taken issue with Welter's interview snippet on Al Jazeera during a council meeting.
(The documentary narrator also noted at another point that the Anaheim Police Department apparently informed his crew that it doesn't allow for media to accompany police patrols–somebody tell the Reggie's David Whiting!)
All the more taken back Roberts was when he left after the council voted to develop a proposal for civilian oversight of police only to run into the chief in the lobby. "I'm a little surprised that he got so angry," Roberts says. "I didn't expect that this was going to be such a contentious issue."
According to the activist's version, Welter didn't appreciate the comments, questioned their factual basis and said he
wasn't the person Roberts saw on motorcycle."It's possible," the former council candidate readily admits to the Weekly about a potential case of mistaken identity. "I can't prove it."
With the media present witnessing the incident in addition to the presence of others in the lobby, Deputy Chief Raul Quezada took his superior by the arm as they promptly exited.
But not before the unassuming, blue-eyed gabacho with a tucked-in Hawaiian shirt found himself in the middle of another mini-shit storm once again!
Gabriel San Roman is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and tallest Mexican in OC.