Emmanuel Killed by Anaheim Police, two weeks before Christmas.




December 12, in America and Mexico, is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Two weeks before the birth of Jesus, barrios across the continent and across Anaheim celebrate the apparition of the Mother of Jesus to Juan Diego, with songs, candles and posole.

This last December 12 the Anaheim Police Department had, after a particularly bloody 2018, made it ALMOST all the way through 2019 without killing anybody, that we know of.

But just before midnight, the word spread from the neighborhood near East Street and Lincoln, that the police had fatally shot a 34-year-old man in an underground garage, a man named Taveonte Art Emmanuel, but known as Jonathan to his friends and family.

The news stories and police statements, always uninformative, were more uninformative than ever.  Nobody other than the police and their bodycams appear to have witnessed the actual shooting.  The police were there to “investigate a disturbance,” but still weren’t sure if Jonathan was the cause of the disturbance.  “Authorities did not release details of what prompted” their killing of Jonathan.  “It hasn’t been disclosed” whether Jonathan had a weapon –  which means he didn’t – and in fact,  according to his wife Elis and other witnesses we spoke to, he did not and never had.

There are still way more questions than answers, as they say.  Elis says that she and her husband of 17 years were having an argument, and she briefly left the house so as not to argue in front of their 13-year old daughter (their other two kids, 2 and 1, were at her mother’s that night.)  The police say they arrived to investigate a complaint of a disturbance at 10:20, but Elis says she was still there until 10:40 and there were no police, and no disturbance.

The female neighbor who had called the police and now deeply regrets it did so because Jonathan was knocking at her door and she didn’t know it was him, the guy everyone in the neighborhood loved.  After she realized it was Johnny she felt bad for calling, and shortly afterward at 11 when four gunshots rattled the building, she felt REALLY bad.

We don’t know why Jonathan was knocking on the neighbor’s door.  Neighbors saw the police speaking to Jonathan outside his second story apartment.  But nobody seems to know how he later ended up in the underground garage with the police, and shot in the back four times.

Jonathan’s widow and three children, unable to pay rent with their breadwinner killed, are now sleeping on friends’ couches.  They had moved from Arizona a year or two earlier because Jonathan had gotten a good job with a construction company, fixing the messed-up pavement around telephone poles.  Everyone I’ve found who knew him say he was a wonderful husband and doting father, never violent, and generous to everybody, to a fault.  Elis can’t help but wonder if the fact he was a black man married to a white woman had anything to do with the police’s suspicions and anger.

Two days after the killing the DA’s men tracked Elis down at a soup kitchen and questioned her about Johnny’s violence,  drinking, or drug use, hoping to justify the killing however they could.  Within a day or two of his dying in the hospital he was embalmed without permission – objectionable because he was Muslim and that was against his religion, but conveniently also making it difficult to distinguish bullet entries and exits.

This blog has a Public Records Request with the city of Anaheim for whatever information we can get, and the bodycam footage should theoretically be available to the public by early February.  Meanwhile the Anaheim police have killed one more person who should be alive, and condemned a fatherless family to poverty and homelessness.  The Orange Juice Blog will keep you updated.


Postscript: APD Fatalities in the 2010’s.

(a few of these may have been unavoidable.)

Update: Statement from APD, 1/10

I’ve got a statement from the APD now, whose new spokesman Shane Carringer is much easier to get a hold of than his predecessor Daren Wyatt (the killer of Adolfo Sanchez):

“There is slightly more information here than what was originally given out on the night of the incident since we have a slightly better understanding of what happened now, BUT I’m sure you will still have questions that would be better suited for the DA’s office since it’s their criminal investigation, they have much more information and they’ve been the collector of evidence/statements.

“At about 2220 hours the first call was received to Anaheim Police Department dispatch from a resident stating a male black adult, wearing a grey beanie and black pants was at their door screaming for the reporting party to open the door. As I said earlier, there was no mention of the subject being armed.

“Two APD patrol officers self-dispatched to the call at about 2230 hours and arrived on scene about 5 minutes later.

“Upon arrival they contacted the reporting party who identified Mr. Emmanuel as the subject in question and they told officers their call was related to a possible domestic violence incident involving Mr. Emmanuel.

“Officers attempted to contact Mr. Emmanuel but he was uncooperative with their efforts. Officers requested a supervisor to the scene and a field sergeant arrived at about 2250 hours.

“It was during that time officers again established contact with with Mr. Emmanuel and at about 2256 hours officers radio’d dispatch that there had been an officer involved shooting. The shooting occurred in the underground parking garage of the location. Officers on scene and subsequent responding officers provided medical aid until Mr. Emmanuel was transported to UCI Medical Center by Anaheim Fire and Rescue personnel where he ultimately died of his injuries.

“No Officers were injured during the incident and there was obviously at least one APD Officer who fired their weapon. Determining the number of officers who fired and the numbers of rounds fired will be handled by the OCDA office as well as confirmation of any other items of evidence or statements that may have been obtained by them during their investigation…

“Our critical incident debrief video should be available in the near future (I don’t produce the video so I have no more info on timeline) and those videos typically contain the 911 call to offer some context to the incident.”

PS. Elis denies any domestic violence, ever.

UPDATE Jan. 14

Got a response back from my PRA with the APD, about names of officers etc etc; they want FOURTEEN MORE DAYS TO RESPOND.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to help Jonathan’s widow and three kids, there is now a gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/fatherhusband-killed-by-police-family-needin-help



About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer 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.