Every Sunday afternoon, from 12 until 2, a group of protesters picket outside of the Anaheim Police Department in protest against police brutality. Today, they had a lot of company. People marched, chanted, shouted, got interviewed, held signs, unfurled banners, chalked (without being arrested), and at one point went into the police station itself en masse and yelled at the cops. In the photo below, three or more cops would have been out to the right, from what I could tell blocking an entrance to a back room and looking very unsmiling. That’s not my thing; the people at the desk were not likely the ones who took the bad actions. Still, people gotta vent — and vent they did.
In the wake of the seven-layered atrocity (see below) of yesterday, lots of people showed up to express their displeasure. Libertarian impresario Tony Bushala was there, venturing a couple of miles south of Fullerton, along with Marlena, merijoe (in an Oath Keeper t-shirt), and various other FFFFsters. Jane Rands and Matt Leslie of the Green Party were there. Asmb. Chris Norby even came by briefly. The ANSWER coalition came down from LA, as did the Socialist Liberation Party. A good number of Occupy OC people attended — Phil and Jose, Diana, Amber (although in journalist mode for OC Weekly), me, and I think there were others. Channels 2, 4, and 7 were there. Fox News was, we believe, there in an unmarked van; a wise safety precaution on their part. Several police were sort of there, one watching from an unmarked car, several on the roof. One of the victims of the rubber bullet shooting, with her shirt lifted up to show the maroon tennis-ball-sized round bruise on her side, was there; I understand that the mother of the deceased man (now confirmed to be Manuel “Stomper” Diaz) was there. Some Latinos who didn’t seem to be affiliated with any group were there. Lots of people driving by were there in spirit, honking their support.
You know who, so far as I could tell, wasn’t there? Pretty much anyone from the mainstream of the Democratic or Republican parties. (The closest exception I could find was me, and I’m sure that many in the county Democratic Party don’t consider me an exception.) This was an outsiders’ activity — and I honestly found that incredible, having seen the video from KCAL News. This was the sort of thing that, like the Kelly Thomas video, tends to capture the attention and sympathy of those who watch it.
A few pedestrians and a few people in cars did stop briefly to chat, often just to get briefed on the basics of what happened. I went through the layers of wrongdoing for their benefit:
(1) As of the time of writing, there does not seem to have been cause to stop them in the first place. Maybe the police will come up with something, but as of the morning they had not.
(2) If the police stopped them and they ran, the police did not have to give chase. It’s reasonable for young men of minority status to fear the police.
(3) If police gave chase, they didn’t have to shoot the person to bring him down.
(4) Having shot him and brought him down, they didn’t have to shoot him in the head if he didn’t put his hands behind his back.
(5) They didn’t have to fire rubber bullets or beanbags from a rifle at mostly women and children to break up the protest against police brutality.
(6) They didn’t have to negligently (or “negligently”) allow a dog to escape and bite people.
(7) The didn’t have to try to buy up cell phone video taken of the events.
Oddly enough, the least violent of these — the last one — is the one that seems to have pushed a lot of people over the edge into the pit of pure contempt.. It’s not as bad as shooting the guy in the head or firing rubber bullets at kids, but it seems the least conceivably excusable. (It also brings into question many past actions by the APD — what video evidence of wrongdoing have they suppressed successfully by buying it from witnesses to prior shootings?)
The irony in the second photo about is, of course, the banner above the reception desk stating “Make Kindness Contagious.” I smiled when I saw that and said to myself “You first, Anaheim P.D.” My sense is that lots of others did the same.
Protests will continue next Sunday and at the next Anaheim Council meeting.
UPDATE, 1:15 a.m. 7/23: I can’t recommend highly enough the coverage in the OC Weekly of the events of Sunday, led by the world OJB’s own prodigal niece Amber Stephens. I have had my differences with G. Arellano and others Weeklings recently, but they are more than rising to this occasion — enough so that I feel less obliged to focus on news and more able to focus on analysis. They’re reporting tonight on a tip from Brandon Friedman that one or more dumpsters was back out on La Palma Avenue and on fire tonight, with a group of about 200 residents assembled there. If this is going away on its own, it won’t be soon; this has the feel of the Kelly Thomas killing redux. Shooting into the crowd crossed the line. (I hope that this sort of citizenry enraging police brutality event doesn’t become an annual “July in OC” ritual.)
I’m not going to repeat their reporting here — just click the link — but so far it looks like Lori Galloway and Tom Tait are in the lead for the Sharon Quirk-Silva and Bruce Whitaker roles in this City Council drama; we’ll see if the other councilmembers want to audition for the less savory roles.