ANAHEIM, Calif. – After a fourth night of violent protests swelled to nearly 1,000 participants, leading to two dozen arrests, Anaheim officials said Wednesday that they were prepared to arrest more people.
The violence started over the weekend after two unrelated police shootings left two suspects dead, including one man who was reportedly unarmed.
Some 200 angry residents packed a city council meeting Tuesday night to voice their complaints. But a crowd gathered outside grew in size and became violent, throwing rocks and bottles at police cars.
The demonstrators later moved through downtown, taking over an intersection, smashing windows, setting fires and damaging 20 businesses, as well as City Hall and the police headquarters, officials said at a news conference Wednesday morning. Some 300 police officers responded in riot gear and used batons, pepper balls and beanbag bullets to disperse the crowd.
“We will not accept any violence perpetrated under the guise of public protest,” Mayor Tom Tait said at the news conference. “If you have a concern about our city, we want to hear about it, but violence has no place in the conversation.”
Six people, including one police officer who was reportedly hit with a rock, were reported injured, although none seriously. The arrest charges included assault with a deadly weapon, battery and resisting arrest.
The police said that they believed roughly two-thirds of the protesters were from outside Anaheim, although the majority of those arrested were city residents.
Mr. Tait has asked for a federal investigation into the police shootings and said the United States attorney’s office has agreed to review the case and will meet with officials on Friday. The district attorney and state attorney general are also reviewing the shootings.
The family of Manuel Diaz, who was shot and killed by the police on Saturday, filed a $50 million civil lawsuit on Tuesday. There have been six shootings by Anaheim police officers so far this year.
Source: The NY Times