An Anaheim councilwoman is being asked to resign following her online remarks that the fatal police shooting of a 21-year-old man had "saved us a trial."
Lucille Kring, who is running for mayor in the resort city, quickly apologized for her comments, but some residents said it was too late and urged her to step down instead.
The relationship between police and residents in the densely packed core of Orange County's largest city has been strained for years and came to a head in the summer of 2012 when a series of shootings ignited days of street protests and angry demonstrations.
Last Thursday, Robert Moreno Jr., 21, was fatally shot by officers following a police chase. Authorities said Moreno had fired at officers and injured a police dog, Bruno.
"The shooting saved us a trial. Always a good outcome," Councilwoman Kring wrote on an online thread for residents of the city's Colony District. The comment was first reported by the OC Weekly.
The fatal police shooting, as well as Kring's remarks, drew dozens of residents Tuesday to the Anaheim council meeting.
Before the public comments portion of the meeting, Kring read a statement apologizing again for what she wrote.
"The loss of a human life is always a tragedy. He was someone's son, maybe an uncle, brother, father," Kring said. "I apologize unreservedly for my statement and I hope you will forgive me and I do retract the statement I made earlier."
Her apology was met with shouts of "too late" from some members of the audience.
Donna Acevedo, whose son Joel Acevedo was shot in an officer-involved shooting in July 2012 that fueled days of protests, said she didn't care whether Kring retracted the statements because they reflected how she really felt.
"You have no business whatsoever running for mayor, you should step down from where you're sitting," said Acevedo, who is also running for a seat on the City Council.
Damion Ramirez, 38, of South Gate, said that comments such as Kring's give the impression that the lives and due process of a certain class of people aren't valued by the city.
"This community is worthless, because I don't see anybody from here up there, but we're gonna," Ramirez said.
On Wednesday, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said he wasn't surprised there was such a strong backlash to Kring's comments.
"It's shocking and disturbing that any elected official would say that," Tait said. "It's in no way the city's position and it's a disturbing thing, a lack of sympathy for the family of the deceased."
Moreno had a history of evading police, according to Orange County court records. In 2010 Moreno was sentenced to 30 days in county jail and three years' probation for failing to register as a gang member. The following year he was sentenced to four years in state prison for multiple felony charges, including vehicle theft, possession of a controlled substance, evading an officer and battery on an officer.
His uncle, Max Figueroa, 30, of Santa Ana, said Kring's comments were disrespectful and upset his family.
"What's wrong with her?" Figueroa said. "She doesn't give a damn about a life."