Snapshots

The Real Crime in Anaheim » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

“He was a documented gang member,” say the Anaheim police of Manuel Diaz, a 25 year old unarmed man they shot dead around 4:00 pm Sunday. They shot him in the buttocks as he ran, and as he stooped to his knees in someone’s yard they followed up by a bullet to the back of his head. Then they handcuffed their immobile quarry with a bloody face and a hole in his skull (as described by a 17 year old neighborhood resident), and searched his pockets before sending him to the hospital to die within three hours.

As I understand it, California law states: “Any person who actively participates in any criminal street gang with knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity, and who willfully promotes,furthers, or assists in any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years.”

It does not say that gang membership in itself is illegal, or that documented gang members may be shot on sight.

According to Associated Press, “The shooting sparked a melee in the neighborhood as some threw rocks and bottles at officers who were securing the scene for investigators to collect evidence.”

Evidence for a drug deal presumably. But his sister Lupe Diaz said on the day of his murder that Manuel had been “just hanging out with friends,” adding “There is no explanation. It’s not fair.” Neighbor Yesenia Rojas (34) who received a welt on her stomach after the police attacked her with a bean bag Sunday, calls him a “good person” and asks, “Why kill this man?” (She’s the woman with the stroller whose grandson was nearly attacked by the K-9 police dog in the now-famous video.)

Even if he was involved in a drug transaction, and even if he were known for such activity in the neighborhood, how could his murder not produce outrage?

A melee is a skirmish, brawl, free-for-all. Is that what happened? It’s not what the video shows. That’s not what the 22 photos posted on the Orange County Register site show.

The AP coverage continues: “Sgt. Bob Dunn, the department’s spokesman, said that as officers detained an instigator, the crowd advanced on officers so they fired bean bags and pepper balls at them.”

Yeah, like this?

I don’t see any attack on police. I see maybe a dozen woman and children approached by cops with rifles drawn and shooting bean bags and pepper spray (and maybe rubber bullets) at close range. One sobbing woman mentions seeing a person throw a water bottle at police before a police dog attacked her and her baby. Could it be that the cops angered at verbal and symbolic expressions of outrage “were provoked” to do what they clearly do in the video? And that that’s what produced statements of defiance? And after darkness set in, such symbolic actions as blocking a street with a dumpster filled with paper on fire?

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: The Real Crime in Anaheim » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

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