Along with her parents, John and Genevieve Huizar, Lupe Diaz spoke out the next day in front of the Anaheim Police Department. “There is no explanation for what the police did. They robbed my brother of his life,” she said.
According to Anaheim Police Chief John Welter, police thought Diaz’s behavior was suspicious—he was leaning against a car talking to two men in an alley.
“He was hanging out with some friends and was shot in the back,” Lupe Diaz told reporters, who questioned her about whether or not her brother used drugs, was a gang member or had an arrest record.
“These kids run from the police because they are afraid for their lives. Nobody is given their due process. That is the important issue,” Theresa Smith told the Militant at the protest. Her son, Caesar Cruz, was killed by the Anaheim police in December 2009. Since then she has organized weekly protests.
Smith pointed out that Diaz was the seventh young man killed by the Anaheim cops this year. The next day police killed Joel Acevedo, 21.
The Anaheim Police Association issued a statement July 24 defending the killings, based on the allegation that both men were gang members.
“I hate how they talk about it—‘officer involved in shooting.’ My brother was murdered on the spot by the police,” Sonia Hernandez, 20, told the Militant at the protest. Martin Angel Hernandez, 21, was killed on March 6. Since then she has been joining protests against the cops almost every week.
Since the killing of Manuel Diaz, the police have responded to protest actions with a stepped-up presence in the working-class neighborhood where Diaz was killed. Increased patrols, cops in riot gear, pepper spray, rubber bullets and a police dog released into a group of people, including children, have been featured on local television.
Protests have taken place every day since the killing. On July 24 more than 250 cops brought in from several Orange County cities confronted demonstrators, making 24 arrests. The cops fired pepper pellets at angry residents near the site of the shooting.
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