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Deadly police shooting in Anaheim sparks violent protests

Mindy Schauer/The Orange County Register

Activist Marlena Carrillo shouts at police inside the Anaheim Police Department in Orange County, Calif., Sunday, July 22, where a press conference took place in response to the officer involved killing of Manuel Diaz Saturday.

The deadly police shooting of an unarmed man in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday sparked a series of violent protests over the weekend, aggravating already high tensions between police and citizens.

More than a hundred residents of northeastern Anaheim reacted to the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Manuel Diaz by police by setting fire to garbage dumpsters in the street and throwing bottles at police officers Saturday night.

Police fired pepper balls and bean bags to control the crowd. The unrest escalated when a police dog escaped a squad car through an open window and bit at least two people. Five people were arrested.

The protests continued on Sunday, with dozens of people lining the streets outside police headquarters and then storming into the lobby chanting “shame,” “no justice, no peace,” and “cops, pigs and murderers,” as officials went into a press conference regarding the controversial shooting.

Protesters said they wanted to know what threat Diaz posed to officers.

The protest at the Anaheim Police Department was the latest in a series of actions by families of shooting victims, some of whom have been holding weekly protests for nearly two years at police headquarters in Orange County, NBCLosAngeles.com reported.

Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said two officers were placed on paid leave after one of them shot Diaz around 4 p.m. Saturday.

Welter said officers were patrolling a neighborhood in northeastern Anaheim when they approached three men allegedly acting suspiciously in an alley, NBCLosAngeles.com reported. 

As police started questioning Diaz, who was standing outside a car talking to the two men inside, the car drove off and Diaz started running. Police chased him down and shot him.

“He was shot first in the back, but he was down," Diaz’s mother, Genevieve Huizar, told NBCLosAngeles.com through tears Sunday, “then they shot him a second time. They shot him in the head.”

Welter said he can’t say why police shot Diaz during the chase, but he did confirm no weapon was found at the crime scene.

“At this time, there’s no information that he was armed when he was shot,” Welter said at a press conference, “but we don’t know what was thrown away as he was running away from the officers, and that was not found, according to the district attorney’s office.”

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait called for an independent probe into a fatal police shooting, asking the state attorney general’s office to get involved.

“Transparency is essential,” Tait said during a press conference at the Anaheim Police Department. “The investigation will seek the truth, and whatever the truth is, we will own it.”

Anaheim was one of six California cities with populations greater than 100,000 that saw a big spike in violent crime last year, according to an analysis of FBI crime data released in June. 

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