A rally in Anaheim to mark the one-year anniversary of a police shooting ended peacefully early Sunday evening.
Protesters gathered at Anaheim City Hall before marching to police headquarters, where family members of men shot by police in Anaheim and in other cities spoke. The march was combined with a call to honor Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager in Florida who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of all charges July 13.
On July 21, 2012, an Anaheim police officer shot and killed Manuel Diaz, who was unarmed. The officer said he believed Diaz had a weapon. A day later, police shot Joel Acevedo, who they said had fired at officers during a foot chase. The shootings led to several days of protests that at times turned destructive and resulted in dozens of arrests in Orange County's largest city.
Since then, the mothers of Diaz and Acevedo have joined other family members in calling for the city to create a citizens commission to review allegations of police misconduct.
The City Hall rally was sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition, an anti-war and social-justice community organizing group. The crowd, estimated at several hundred to 1,000, later returned to City Hall after marching to the police headquarters. They disbanded about 6:45 p.m. A candlelight vigil was scheduled for Sunday night at City Hall.Police characterized the event as peaceful. One person was arrested, possibly on suspicion of graffiti tagging, said Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn. He added that the department's goal was to "facilitate" the opportunity for participants to exercise their First Amendment rights.
ANSWER organizer Mike Prysner said police made an effort to remain in the background and block off streets for marchers when needed, a sharp contrast, he said, to behavior by authorities in the past.
Family members of those killed by authorities came from as far away as the Bay Area, Sacramento and San Diego. Also taking part were relatives of those killed by the Border Patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border, Prysner said.
Investigations by the Orange County district attorney’s office concluded that both the Diaz and Acevedo shootings were within legal parameters.Last year, Anaheim police were involved in nine shootings that led to five deaths. So far this year, one incident led police to fire weapons. No one was injured in that case.
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