Anaheim police have responded by mobilizing a show of force in working-class neighborhoods, city council meetings and protests, and organizing to keep the protests from impinging on the profitable functioning of Disneyland, the city’s largest source of tax revenue.
At a demonstration in front of the Anaheim police station July 29, police contingents included squad cars from Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana, Westminster, three groups of police on horseback, two humvees filled with police in camouflage uniforms and a tank. There were snipers on the roof of the police station and other nearby buildings. Police distributed fliers calling on protesters to disperse shortly after they assembled.
Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait is calling for a federal investigation into the shootings. There have been seven police shootings in 2012, of which five were fatal.
Family of those killed by California cops in recent years are involved in leading the protests.
“They want to stereotype us as marginal, as dangerous,” Damion Ramirez told the protesters. “Well, we are dangerous to the status quo that fears the working class that they prey on. But what they haven’t counted on is the solidarity that we have found.”
Ramirez, a union plumber, was a childhood friend of Michael Nida, killed by the police in Downey, a working-class suburb of Los Angeles in 2011. The 31-year-old carpenter was out with his wife buying gas when he was shot five times, two times in the back, once in the chest, once in the shoulder and once in the wrist, according to Nida’s mother. Police claim that Nida fit the description of an alleged bank robber. The officer who shot him has not been prosecuted.
“The officer that killed my grandson just made sergeant in the Anaheim Police Department, and we are still demanding justice,” Barbara Kordiak told the Militant at the protest. She carried a handmade sign that read, “Stolen life by APD,” and a picture of Justin Hertl, her grandson killed in nearby Yorba Linda in 2003 as he walked her to her car. Police answer that they were responding to a call about a stolen car.
Corie Cline was taunted at the protest by the Anaheim police officer who killed her brother, Joe Whitehouse, on July 16, 2007.
“The Anaheim police are not judge, jury and executioner,” said Theresa Smith, whose son Caesar Cruz was shot by the police in 2009. Smith urged participants to be disciplined in the face of police provocations.
“We need to show the Anaheim Police Department and the world that something needs to be done,” said Smith. “I am not asking, I am demanding that the protest stays peaceful, out of respect for the families.”
Newburgh, NY: cops who killed youth walking free
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