Jul 30, 2012
On Saturday, July 20, police shot and killed 25-year-old Manuel Angel Diaz in Anaheim, California.
Diaz was with two friends, minding their own business, when Anaheim cops approached them in the usual kind of harassment that cops carry out against young people in working class and poor communities. Diaz was neither armed, nor did he have any drugs on him. But having been arrested several times before, he fled. The cops fired and wounded him in the buttocks. Witnesses reported that when Diaz was down on the ground, a cop fired one shot to the head, execution-style.
The cops then proceeded to let Diaz die. A video recording, which appeared on the Orange County Weekly website, showed Diaz after the shooting, lying wounded and bleeding on a lawn, surrounded by cops. One person in the video shouted at the cops, “He is still alive, man.” But the cops did nothing except push people, including the person recording the cops on video.
After Diaz was finally taken to the hospital, he was pronounced dead.
A few hours later, the cops claimed that they were attacked by protestors. But in another video broadcast on CBS’s KCAL-TV, the police are shown firing bean bags and pepper balls at panicked families, including many young children and infants. The video shows a police dog attacking a mother and infant. It then bit a man, who was trying to protect his one-month-old baby.
Over the next four days various protests confronted the police, which city officials and the news media denounced as “violent.” These are the same officials who in just this year have presided over the killing of six people by the Anaheim cops, including a young man who was shot and killed by the police the day after they killed Diaz.
For more than two years, the mother of another man killed by Anaheim police, Caesar Cruz, has been staging weekly protests at police department headquarters. In late 2009, the cops had cornered Cruz in a Walmart and shot him nine times in the back.
One woman living in the neighborhood said about the cops: “I'm not scared to live here. I'm just scared of who's next.”
As in so many impoverished communities now under siege by killer cops, these kinds of protests are a matter of self-defense.