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Police brutality story heats up: Anaheim PD faces evidence-buying claims

Published time: July 23, 2012 03:43
Edited time: July 23, 2012 15:42

Image from twitter.com @EdJoyce. Video youtube courtesy of Reneebalenti

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Witnesses to the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in Anaheim, California say officers offered to buy up cell phone footage of the brutality that followed. The circumstances of the shooting are currently under investigation.

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A few hours after shooting 24-year-old Manuel Diaz as he ran from police at around 4pm Saturday, officers unleashed rubber bullets and an attack dog on a crowd of witnesses – most of them women and children – who confronted police over the incident as they gathered evidence.

Diaz later died in hospital. Officials have yet to comment on what may have caused one of the officers to open fire.

The incident has resonated through the community, with demonstrations Sunday outside – and briefly inside – the Anaheim Police headquarters, as Police Chief John Welter prepared for a press-only news conference regarding the assault.

Demonstrators chanted "no justice, no peace" and "cops, pigs, murderers" as officers stood by.

And now that the story has gained national attention, the Anaheim PD claims the crowd of witnesses became unruly following the shooting, alleging that they set a fire at an intersection in the neighborhood, while others threw bottles and rocks at officers.

However, a news video posted to YouTube shows local CBS affiliate footage of what appears to be police storming a block filled mostly with women and children, many of them sitting in lawn chairs – with no fire in sight.

Local CBS reporter Jay Jackson confirms in the report that by shortly before 10pm Saturday, there was in fact a dumpster fire in the neighborhood after local residents formed a small protest, demanding answers from police. The Associated Press also now reports that dumpster fires were started on at least three occasions.  

In the YouTube video, police are clearly seen firing rubber bullets on a crowd of horrified women and children. Shortly thereafter a German Shepherd enters view, attacking a woman and her child and then a man sitting next to them.

Towards the end of the video, Jackson says that "at least four" people present during the fracas told him that officers on the scene offered to "buy" cell phone video footage of the incident from witnesses.

Anaheim police officials are refraining from commenting on the circumstances of the attack or its aftermath, as the incident is still under investigation.

The officer who shot Diaz has been put on desk duty.

Image from twitter.com @MikePrysner
Image from twitter.com @MikePrysner

Image from twitter.com @ReporterClaudia
Image from twitter.com @ReporterClaudia

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