ANAHEIM – Residents angered by six police shootings this year plan to take their protests to City Hall this afternoon after three days of street demonstrations sparked by the most recent shootings.
Police increased their street patrols after the two fatal officer-involved shootings over the weekend. They were planning to bring in extra officers for the 4 p.m. protest in front of City Hall.
“We do have a plan to respond to the crowd as needed,” Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn said, declining to speak in detail about how many officers will be at City Hall.
Authorities identified a man fatally shot on Sunday as Joel Mathew Acevedo, 21, and described him as a known gang member. A gang officer shot and killed him after he opened fire during a foot chase, police said.
A day earlier, on Saturday, an officer shot 25-year-old Manuel Angel Diaz after police say he fled on foot down a residential alleyway. Police described Diaz, who was unarmed, as a gang member but have declined to speak in any more detail about what led to the shooting.
The back-to-back shootings brought to six the number of officer-involved shootings in Anaheim so far this year; five were fatal. Residents in the two neighborhoods responded with three nights of protests and marches, most recently on Monday evening.
A group of up to 100 demonstrators, including the parents and families of the two men killed, marched through the neighborhood where Diaz died. Police also reported a pair of trash-bin fires near the area where Acevedo was shot and said witnesses saw juveniles running from at least one of them.
Organizers of the march advised the protesters to remain peaceful after two drivers were seen “doing donuts” with their vehicles on nearby La Palma Avenue. The march ended shortly before 10 p.m. after an emotional speech by Diaz’s mother.
It marked the third straight night of neighborhood protests over the shootings. Shortly after the shooting on Saturday, officers fired bean-bag rounds and pepper spray into a group of protesters that had gathered near the scene. A police dog also escaped its handler and bit a man in the crowd, police said.
The next evening, police shut down six blocks of La Palma Avenue because people were throwing rocks and bottles at passing cars.
Police Chief John Welter said Monday that more officers are being dispatched to the areas of disturbances. Police won’t allow “this kind of violence and unlawful behavior to continue,” he said.
The District Attorney’s Office is investigating both shootings, which is standard protocol for officer-involved shootings. On Monday, the D.A.’s Office sought the public’s help in identifying anyone with information regarding Saturday’s shooting. Witnesses are asked to leave a message on the District Attorney Special Investigations hotline at 714-347-8544.
–Register staff writers Denisse Salazar, Sean Emery, Michael Mello and Eric Carpenter contributed to this report.
By DOUG IRVING, ALEJANDRA MOLINA and GREG HARDESTY / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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