[UPDATED with City Manager's Comments:] Is the Anaheim City Council the Next Target for Recall Over Police Abuse?

See update at the end of post where newly appointed Anaheim City Manager Bob Wigenroth makes a recommendation for the City Council.

ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 5, 8:00 A.M. As Fullerton residents anxiously awaited their City Council recall results on Tuesday night, a group of about a dozen protesters gathered at an Anaheim City Council meeting. The protesters were family members of Caesar Cruz, Justin Hertl, Joe Whitehouse and Martin Angel Hernandez; all shot to death by Anaheim Police as far back as 2003. 

Others were members of the so-called Kelly's Army, supporters of Kelly ThomasTheresa Smith, mother of Cruz, who was killed in 2009, has protested outside of the department on Harbor Boulevard for the past two and a half years. Since last year, other families affected by officer-involved shootings have joined her during her weekly protests. It was the first time the family of Cruz have taken their fight to the Anaheim City Council.


Renee Balenti, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask for most of the meeting, came out in support for families affected by officer-involved shootings. 
“We're here to let the council know if they don't do something about the rogue cops on their police force, they're up next for a recall,” she said. 

Members of the council and Anaheim Police Chief John Welter sat silently as one-by-one, the families spoke out against the deadly excessive use of force they say was used on their loved ones. 
Jaclyn Conroy, aunt of Justin Hertl shot by Anaheim Police in 2003, listed off over a half dozen individuals shot by Anaheim Police, including the recent fatal shootings of Marcel Cejas, Roscoe Cambridge, David Rayas and Martin Hernandez.
There have been six officer-involved shootings by Anaheim Police this year so far. 
“I have come to you people before begging you, please look into the corruption of the Anaheim Police Department and nothing was done,” she said. “How many bodies have to pile up before someone speaks up? If it were your child, I guarantee you'd be looking into this.” 
Corie Whitehouse-Cline teared up at the podium as she spoke about her brother Joe Whitehouse, who was shot by Anaheim police officers in 2007. She said her mother has been unable to leave her house because of harassment by police officers following the shooting. 
Since Smith was unable to talk due to pending litigation, Cruz's brother Joseph Cardenas spoke to the council. Cruz was shot and killed by four Anaheim Police officers in a Wal-Mart parking lot in 2009. (see “Mother's Day Vigil Planned in Anaheim for People Killed in Officer-Involved Shootings.”) 
Cardenas said he served for the United States Marines for six years to protect the lives of those he loves, only to come home to police killing his brother. He asked the council to implement policies and procedures to ensure the officers responsible for police abuse are held accountable for their actions.
A member from Kelly's Army, who did not give his name, accused the Anaheim Police of racial profiling, calling the city of Anaheim “one of the most corrupt cities in Orange County” and vowed to collect signatures for a recall if the council does not investigate the corruption claims. 
After giving their heartfelt speeches at the meeting, the group made its way to Fullerton City Hall for the recall results stemming from the fatal Fullerton police beating of Kelly Thomas. In case you didn't already know, residents were successful booting out three Fullerton City Councilmembers last night.

UPDATE, JUNE 19, 10:30 P.M.: Before the Anaheim City Council meeting commenced tonight, City Manager Bob Wingenroth made the following statement regarding the June 5 public comment session:

“It is important that we follow up on serious allegations that have been made,” he said. “Therefore, in order to maintain the trust and confidence our residents have with our police department, I, working with our city attorney, am recommending that the city of Anaheim conduct an independent review of major police incidents, including incidents of officer-involved shootings and report back to the city council in an open public workshop session.”

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