Memorial For Genevieve on Anna Drive, Saturday 3-6.

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Come to Anna Drive tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) and help us celebrate the memory of a great justice warrior, Genevieve Huizar, the mother of Manuel Diaz.  This will be in front of 704 N. Anna Drive, right where unarmed Manuel was gunned down in July of 2012.  Parking is available at nearby St Anthony Claret Church – but park by the wall on the west side, and put Genevieve’s name on your dashboard.  Press release from Chicanos Unidos & Our Realities Fighting Police Brutality:

Honoring Genevieve Huzar & Her Legacy.

WHO/WHAT: Chicanxs Unidxs and Our Realities organizations are hosting a memorial to honor Genevieve Huizar & her fight for police accountability

WHEN: Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 3pm

WHERE: 704 N. Anna Drive, Anaheim, Ca

WHY: Genevieve Huizar, a well-known mother and freedom fighter passed away on May 29, 2021. She was 64 years old and a mother of four including her son Manuel Diaz who was killed by Anaheim Police Department. She had lived a calm life working the same job for over 20 years and had not been involved in any form of activism until police brutality affected her personally.

Between October 2011 and July 2012, Anaheim police department claimed the lives of 8 young men. On July 21st 2012, Manuel Diaz was talking to his friends in an alley when cop Nick Bennallack began to chase Manuel, Bennallack shot him from behind on the waist then on the back of the head.

Manuel was killed in broad day light in front of families who lived on Anna Drive. The community rallied and protested the unjustified killing. Anaheim Police Department responded by shooting rubber bullets and releasing a police dog into a crowd of families. Camera phone footage was immediately uploaded to social media and was picked up by national news. On July 22nd 2012, just one day later, as the video was going viral and as people were looking at Anaheim, Joel Acevedo was killed by the same officer responsible for killing Caesar Cruz in 2009.

Genevieve demanded answers to her son’s murder and plead with public officials and community leaders to help her, many ignored her. She joined other families and created Young Survivors Legacy Support Network in 2013 after an unprecedented number of police shootings and killings of their loved ones. As families united in grief, it became apparent that it was important to not only address the need for better police recruitment and training to lessen police violence but also to have a mechanism to help the young survivors, the children of victims of police violence. The organization later transitioned to Our Realities, which continues to exist and unites families experiencing loss from police violence.

Although Genevieve endured mistreatment from law enforcement, public officials and members of the public, she did not let that stop her. She continued to organize families up until the day she passed. Nick Bennallack has killed a total of four people while on the force and was promoted to SWAT team after the killing of Manuel Diaz, he has never been charged. Genevieve took her civil case against Anaheim police to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and won her case. On November 2, 2017, a federal jury determined that Bennallack did indeed use excessive force in killing Diaz.

We will remember Genevieve’s gentle soul and endless fire and will gather to honor her, her son, her fight and the legacy she leaves behind.

Orange Juice Blog: Anaheim SWAT Officer Nick Bennalacks’ 4th Killing

Wikipdedia: Police Shootings and Protests in Anaheim California

Here is Gabriel San Roman’s wonderful story about Genevieve.

And here is the Orange Juice story, written as Genevieve was being removed from the ventilator:

Genevieve Huizar, the mother of Manuel Diaz who was killed by Anaheim police July 21, 2012, has just passed away in Arizona from a severe case of coronavirus. She leaves behind her devoted husband John, three daughters, a lot of grandchildren, and countless comrades in the fight for justice and police accountability.

After her fleeing, unarmed son was shot fatally twice in the back on Anna Drive – the sixth of seven similar Anaheim police killings in a twelve-month period, which led to riots and protests – DA Rackauckas as always found the killing justified and “within policy.”

So Genevieve took her fight to a federal jury in Santa Ana, where Anaheim’s lawyer Moses Johnson dragged Manuel’s name through the mud, bringing up accusations, innuendos and past brushes with the law, even though the officer knew about none of these things when killing Manuel so they should have been irrelevant.  Meanwhile the judge wouldn’t let the plaintiff bring up actually relevant facts about the famously trigger-happy officer, who had shot another unarmed man half a year earlier.  So the Santa Ana jury, in the foreman’s words, “decided to trust a white policeman over a [alleged] gangbanger.”

Holding it together while being abused by the psychotic James Robert Reade, Aug. 8, 2012.

Many parents would have given up there, but not Genevieve – she appealed this ruling to the Ninth Circuit which agreed with her – the police side can’t bring up irrelevant negative allegations against the victim, which have nothing to do with why they were killed.  Anaheim appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, which agreed with the Ninth Circuit by refusing to hear the case, and when Genevieve went back to court again, with a level playing field, she won a ruling of excessive force against the Anaheim officer, and a modest sum.  But most historically, it was from an Orange County jury – a first in county history, and now not the last!

And this was Genevieve’s most concrete success, the precedent she set that police victims can’t be smeared and slandered at the trials of their killers.  One year later she sat near me in the courtroom at the wrongful-death trial of Officer German Alvarez for the killing of unarmed Gustavo Najera, and the same Anaheim attorney, Moses Johnson tried hard to get the judge to allow him to talk about Gustavo’s “toxicology” – i.e. to claim that the fact Gustavo may have been high on something made it less of a big deal that Alvarez blew him away.  The judge steadfastly refused to allow that.  I whispered to Genevieve, “This is because of you, and your good fight,” and she smiled. 

Husband John at right, attorney Dale Galipo at left.

Throughout all this she was a rock of support to other families of police victims, starting a group named “Our Realities Fighting Police Brutality.”  A couple of years ago, desirous of some peace and change for herself and her large extended family, she packed up and moved to Arizona, but has continued to support our movement from there.

She’ll be taken off the ventilator at 3pm today.  We are lighting candles.  And the movement continues, as witness the huge and heartfelt turnout at Hector Hernandez’ 1-year vigil in Fullerton last Thursday night.


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