APD summons the community to tell us NOTHING about their killing of Adalid Flores.


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(Click for larger view)

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The 150-or-so of us neighbors who showed up Monday night at East Anaheim’s Church of the Nazarene to hear the Anaheim Police’s presentation on their fatal shooting of 29-year old Adalid “El Gordito” Flores already knew a few things about the case, from the Register and Weekly.  We knew, for example, that Adalid had allegedly purposely “rammed” two cars on the 91 (characterized as “assault with a deadly weapon”), disabling his own car, fled down East Street, and was later shot fatally by Anaheim Police in the front yard of 1322 North East Street.

But an hour later, as we left the event, we didn’t know any more than we knew walking in.  Well, maybe a couple of little things, but not what most of us wanted to know.  Like,

  • Was Adalid armed?  The police wouldn’t tell us.  That of course means he was NOT armed.  And:  
  • Why was it necessary then to kill this father of four if he was no longer a threat?  
  • How many bullets were fired into Adalid, by how many police?  
  • Who was/were the shooter(s)?  
  • Was there a second suspect, as the Register suggested?  If so, can we even be sure it was Adalid who did the “ramming?”  

Nothing.  And yes, the killing was caught on body cameras, and no, the public will never see the footage (if the APD and DA have their way.)

adalid

I can think of one thing we learned – it was the CHP who called the APD to nab the suspect while they took care of the desmadre on the highway.  Shame there was not a less lethal group that they could have called on, rather than the 9th-deadliest police force in the US (per thousand of city residents.)  Remember, this is the fourth APD killing this year.  Three of those victims were unarmed – all but February’s Danny Rendon, and HE had dropped his gun and raised his hands before being shot.  Two of them – February’s Gustavo Najera and July’s Vincent Valenzuela – were not even doing anything wrong when they met their fates at the hands of the APD.  (When called on this, the spokesman boasted that the APD makes “hundreds, maybe thousands of arrests each year,” and HARDLY ANY of them get killed.)

Do we still need plenty of oversight, accountability, policy reforms, or what?

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cahill spinningOne other little twist – we’d been led to expect this “community meeting” to be led by Chief Raul Quezada, whom we hadn’t seen since early October, when he and Deputy Chief Dan Cahill had been accused of falsifying time cards.  But instead the meeting was led by Cahill (right), who introduced himself as “Acting Chief” and said Raul was out of town and couldn’t make it.  Cynics among us guffawed, assuming Raul is still on leave while being investigated.  

But also, how is Cahill Acting Chief, when for one thing he stands accused of the same misdeeds as Quezada, and for another thing he’s only been around a year and a half while the other, and equal, Deputy Chief Julian Harvey has been with the APD since 1992 – 24 years.  Doesn’t Julian feel dissed, passed over?  Actually he was there, and really seemed perfectly happy to not have to be up at the podium shoveling bullshit.

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Little Adalids, as featured on his Facebook page.

Little Adalids, as featured on his Facebook page.

At one point, a young couple near the back of the church stormed out in disgust after not getting any satisfactory answers.  I followed them out to see who they were – the young man was Adalid’s brother “Junior.”  Then I took the opportunity to introduce myself to another man who had spoken up – the elderly, non-English-speaking owner of the home on East Street, in whose front yard Adalid had been killed, and who demanded to know “Why the police knocked down his doors” after the shooting.  He gave me his name and said I could come by any time.

So a few days later I brought along a Spanish-speaking friend (who happened to have grown up with Adalid) and walked over to East Street to ask this gentleman a few questions.  What did he see and hear?  How many shots were fired?  How many police were there, and does he remember their names, and did they really “knock down his doors,” or just “knock on the door” as Cahill claimed?

First, he pointed out the traditional shrine, set up on the driveway where Adalid was shot.

adalid shrine 2

The homeowner heard three shots;  he believes two bullets hit Adalid, and one went into the house.  There were more police than he could count, he gestured up and down the street, from the Eli Home to the freeway.  Monday’s translator was correct – the police kicked down half his doors, not “knocked on the doors” as Cahill put it, to look for a second suspect.  He was told he can go to the city and bill them for fixing the doors.

Donna and I know all these houses, we walked that District 5 precinct twice during her recent Council run.  The first house you get to if you were walking or running south on the east side of East Street from the 91 is deserted;  why didn’t he run to that house and hide?

adalid house next door 2

Because, duh.  He wanted to run to somewhere – the second house – where he knew there would be WITNESSES.  He thought the presence of witnesses would stop the police from shooting him to death.  Manuel Diaz thought the same thing on July 21, 2012 as he ran to where he knew there would be witnesses on Anna Drive.  It didn’t save either of the unarmed young men from being slaughtered.

adalid 1322

1322.  He jumped this gate which was closed.  That’s the last thing he did.  My friend says he was one of the funniest guys she knew.  He and his four kids and their mother had recently moved to Moreno Valley, but he came to visit his mother in Anaheim a lot.  She can’t imagine why he or his friend might have been “ramming cars,” and finds it hard to believe.  He was never a gang member.  That’s all I got so far.

UPDATE

Anaheim’s next (and possibly final) “Public Safety Board” meeting will be Thursday Dec. 15 at 6pm, at the Anaheim Gordon Hoyt Conference Center, 2nd floor, 201 S. Anaheim Blvd, 2nd floor (across from City Hall.)  We’ll be there with a lot of questions, will you?!

adalid 2


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.