Revolution #277, August 12, 2012

Cops Kill Two Latinos in Two Days:
Anger and Defiance Rock Anaheim, CA

“The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be.”

—From “The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have: A Message, And A Call, From The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA”

Nine Days of Defiant Protests

For more than a week, Anaheim, California, has been rocked by righteous anger and defiance ignited by the police execution of Manuel Diaz, who was shot in the back of the head on Saturday, July 21, and then the murder of Joel (Joey) Acevedo the next evening near Disneyland.

Saturday afternoon, July 21

Neighbors and friends say it was a quiet afternoon on Anna Drive. Little kids are playing outside. Manuel Diaz is talking with a friend when two cops in an unmarked car pull up.

According to Manuel’s mother, Genevieve Huizar, “Witnesses say he was just at a water spigot washing his hands when the police came around the corner, and they shot him. He was not running. There’s no truth to being in a car, a stolen car, that a lie! There’s no truth to that. All the witnesses in the area say he was just washing his hands when the police came up. He was shot in the back, he was shot first in the back and then when he was down then they shot him another time! Then they shot him in the head! If he was robbing a bank, OK, if he was doing something wrong, but he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He didn’t deserve to die.”

Originally the police said that officers on patrol “in a high crime gang area” shot a gang member who ran from them.

“I didn’t see it, but I heard exactly what happened,” Manuel’s friend told Revolution. “He got shot. By the cops. Supposedly for running, when he did not run. He did not run... Shot in the back, and in the head. That’s bullshit. That’s bullshit to me. Seriously. Yes, he might have a record, but that doesn’t mean anything, that doesn’t mean anything. Ask anybody. If people needed something, he would go to them, and help them.” A young woman told us that Manuel was always helpful and friendly. He never disrespected people; he was never disrespectful to women, she told us.

Saturday night, July 21

On Anna Drive, residents immediately begin to protest, first with placards and signs. The police on the scene are “securing the area for investigators” and trying to intimidate the residents and offering money to anyone who’d caught the murder on a phone or gadget. Then Saturday night police violently attack a crowd of kids, parents, mothers with strollers, and others protesting the murder.

News video shows overturned bikes, strollers, and parents shielding children as police fire rubber bullets into the crowd in the neighborhood. An officer “accidentally” unleashes a snarling police dog that attacks a mother holding her child, and attacks a 19-year-old man who suffers dog bite wounds. Police shoot pepper balls and beanbags at residents, but people stand their ground.

This vicious attack intensifies people’s anger and residents bravely defend themselves. People take to the streets and stop business as usual on La Palma and Anna Streets.

Posted above the candles and flowers at the memorial people made for Manuel Diaz are signs reading “APD—Another Person Dead,” “FUCK the Police” and “They Have Blood on Their Badges.”

Sunday, July 22

On Sunday, the family of Manuel Diaz, a number of families of others killed by Anaheim- and Orange County-based police departments, and activists congregate at the Anaheim police headquarters. As Manuel Diaz’s mother enters to demand the police report on her son’s killing, more than 50 protesters follow her inside. There is a stand-off, as protesters confront police in the lobby of the headquarters, demanding that the killer cops be put in jail.

Banner iwth BAsics 1:13 sent to Anaheim
Support the Protests in Anaheim!
A banner with BAsics quote 1:13 and "We Say No More!" signed by dozens of people in a predominantly Black neighborhood in L.A. was sent to Anaheim. We call on people in other cities around the country to send banners of support to the people in Anaheim who are righteously standing up against the police. Send the banners care of Revolution Books, 5726 Hollywood Blvd., LA, CA 90028
PHOTO: Special to Revolution

In the last year, Anaheim police have shot down David Raya, Marcel Ceja, Bernie Villegas, Roscoe Cambridge, Gerardo Pineda, and Martin Hernandez. And they were not done killing people this weekend, as you will read below.

At the protest families spoke with Revolution newspaper. Theresa Smith is the mother of Caesar Cruz, who was gunned down by Anaheim police in 2009. Speaking of the Anaheim police shooting of her son, she said, “All I know is they followed him. It happened at Walmart. Several officers followed him under cover. They followed him, they boxed him in, they shot him. It was five police involved, they each shot him, I don’t know how many times, I just know they shot him twice in the head.”

Sonia Hernandez is the sister of Martin Hernandez, who was gunned down four months ago by Anaheim police. Speaking of her brother’s shooting and Saturday’s execution of Manuel Diaz, she said, “That’s racist... they’re viewing all Mexicans as gang members. And even if they are, is it right to kill a gang member? Who knows their life story? They might be trying to change their life around. And I think that was my brother. He never had a chance to actually continue to work or do something with his life. He was just beginning to change and never had a chance. My brother was 21. It was exactly 20 days before his 22nd birthday.”

Sunday evening, July 22

On Sunday evening, Anaheim police kill another young Latino near Disneyland on Guinida Lane. According to a police spokesperson, gang officers recognized “a gang member on probation in a stolen SUV.” The police story is that a man who fled a SUV after it crashed fired at police; police returned fire. Joel Acevedo was killed. A picture online shows Acevedo’s body with a handgun positioned between his legs. Acevedo may have had a gun. Or, that gun may have been dropped by police after they gunned Joel Acevedo down. Either way, Anaheim police act as judge, jury and executioner. This is now the sixth officer-involved shooting, five of them fatal, in Anaheim this year.

Monday, July 23

On Monday afternoon people are hanging out on Anna Street, talking with each other and with supporters who have come into the neighborhood about what to do. The neighborhood is seething angry about these police killings and the police attack on their neighborhood Saturday night. Residents of Anna Drive are now urged by Latino community organizers to come to the City Council meeting on Tuesday to make their voices heard and to bring out the truth. Maybe opening an official channel will quiet down these people, city officials hope. That night, residents of Anna Street march up and down the street demanding justice for Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo.

Tuesday, July 24

Hundreds come out to protest at the council meeting. They are confronted by riot police. The overwhelming majority of people are prevented from entering City Council chambers. They chant “Let us in” and “¡Manuel Diaz, Esta Presente!” and “¡Asesinos! ¡Asesinos!”

After an intense confrontation inside and in front of City Hall, with the riot squad stationed in front of the doors, people take off on a march to the Anaheim police department. When the march returns, a few cops run up shooting rubber bullets, beanbags and pepper balls. This small group of cops gets surrounded and retreats. Then the swarms of cops in cars come in and arrest some people down in the middle of the street in front of City Hall. Hundreds of people are swirling around and a stand-off develops for about an hour between people in the street and the cops.

Inside City Hall, the City Council votes unanimously to ask the U.S. Attorney’s office to investigate the police shootings. Outside, a thousand people have gathered by now, squaring off against the riot squads from Anaheim and Brea police. A group of people take off down the street. Reports from the Orange County Register are that a bank and a Starbucks were trashed, as were some other downtown spots; fires were set in the street.

The crowd was young, angry. The mood: “Just ’cause we’re Latino you want to kill us!? We’re not having it, not this time.” By the next morning, 24 people had been arrested, and it was reported by the local press that the police department and City Hall buildings and some patrol cars were damaged.

Wednesday & Thursday, July 25 & 26

People in the community report that police are targeting youth in the wake of Tuesday’s defiance and political resistance to police murder. The cops are rolling through the neighborhoods. Revolution is told that one cop declared, “This is my street.” The defiant response: “It’s not your street, it’s my community.” Anger is still seething and people are telling us, “People have the right to be angry” and “We should do some more marching.”

Friday, July 27

The area near Disneyland where Joey Acevedo was murdered is decorated with front and back covers of Revolution newspaper. People drive by, honk, and yell out, “Good job.” Posters that say “We are all __________. The Whole Damn System Is Guilty” are being distributed all over the neighborhood. People are writing in the blank space, “We are all Joey Acevedo,” “We are all Anaheim,” “We are all Guinida Street,” “Fuck the System.” Stickers saying “Jail the Killer Cops, Not the Protestors” are out all over the neighborhood. By the end of the weekend, it seems as if everyone is wearing this sticker.

Saturday, July 28

A banner from Los Angeles arrives in Anaheim. It is decorated with BAsics quote 1:13, the names of Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo, and “We Say No More.” The banner has been signed by several dozen people from a predominantly Black neighborhood in Los Angeles with messages of support—“I say no more,” “No more police violence,” “F*** the police,” and messages of compassion for the families. People in Anaheim sign the banner and put messages on it.

As the banner is taken out to the Anna Drive and Guinida Lane neighborhoods, people find out about support demonstrations being held and planned in cities across the country—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and other cities. People begin to grasp the impact of their resistance on people everywhere.

Joey’s mother, Donna, tells Revolution, “I asked them if I would be allowed to have that [banner], maybe, when you guys are done, but when is it going to be done, you know? Like I don’t see this being done any time soon.”

At a car wash to raise funds for the family of Manuel Diaz, supporters bring a banner that reads “No More Stolen Lives,” and posters saying “We Are All Manuel Diaz. The Whole Damn System Is Guilty!” Some young guys washing cars want to hang the banner on a fence. A person connected to City Hall tries to stop them from doing it. Their response is to put “We Are All Manuel Diaz” on their windshields.

Sunday, July 29

The word has gone out—protest at the Anaheim police station at noon. Five hundred angry and defiant people come from Riverside, Fontana, Fullerton, Anaheim, Occupy San Diego, Occupy Los Angeles, ANSWER, people connected with the movement for revolution being led by the RCP, even people from Arizona. A young woman with her hands cuffed behind her back wears a sign, “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Already Handcuffed.”

The cops mass in a military-style show of force meant to intimidate and to brutalize. They are on horseback. They wear camouflage uniforms and carry grenade launchers. SWAT teams are in front of the station, and snipers are on rooftops.

But this does not deter or intimidate the people who have taken to the streets. Youth start chanting “March! March! March!” The march heads toward Disneyland. Cops on horseback try to stop it but they cannot shove the people onto the sidewalks. People chant all the way: “Honk if you hate police brutality,” “¡Asesinos! ¡Asesinos!” “Is it the Pigs’ World? Hell No! Whose World? Our World!” The cops block the street leading to Disneyland, so the march heads to the neighborhood where Joey Acevedo was murdered. The banner from Los Angeles is out in the midst of this and has a galvanizing effect. People come out of their houses, offer drinks to the demonstrators. Youth in the neighborhood come out chanting “Fuck the police!”

The Orange County Register reported that nine people were arrested during the day.

Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth

Anaheim, a city of nearly 350,000, is sharply divided with a poor and working class Latino community that makes up 52 percent of the city’s population on the west side and one of the most affluent Orange County communities, Anaheim Hills, on the east side. The city is home to Disneyland, which calls itself the “Happiest Place on Earth,” as well as two major pro sports teams—the Anaheim Angels baseball team and the Anaheim Ducks hockey team. These entertainment and sports entities bring millions of dollars into the city.

The interests of those who rule Anaheim are the same as the interests of the capitalists-imperialists who rule America. For those who rule Anaheim, everything is aimed at supporting the tourist industries of Disneyland and the pro sports teams, as well as the wealthy Anaheim Hills community. This is diametrically opposed to the interests of the Latinos in Anaheim, who, according to the New York Times (August 3, 2012), “have grappled with unemployment, poverty, crime, and gangs for years...”

If you go into these neighborhoods, you are confronted with double-story apartments and shared housing properties. Inside, homes are bare and decorations are minimal; some even look empty.

To enforce their interests and keep the people under their thumb, the city of Anaheim has unleashed their police force on the Latino community. A massive wave of police brutality and murder has been hidden from those outside Anaheim until now, but the recent rebellion by the people has brought this into the light of day.

As the Los Angeles RCP statement on the Anaheim rebellion says:

"What is the role of the police in our society? What do they serve and protect in gunning down Manuel and Joel and countless others like them across the country? It is NOT to serve and protect the people, but to serve and protect an oppressive system over the people. Their role is to keep people in the miserable conditions that this system has put people in. The law and order the cops enforce is the law and order that maintains all the exploitation, oppression and madness of the capitalist system."

In talking about the police murder of David Raya three blocks from where Joel Acevedo was murdered, Joey’s mother said, “[He] was shot in the back in the courtyard of an apartment complex at 1:40 in the afternoon. David was on parole. At that time the neighbors came out, and the police told them to ‘get back inside, you didn’t see nothing.’... They said there was a weapon in his car, and they felt threatened, but they shot him way out in the street, you know, and it doesn’t make sense. And his family, they were having a hard time getting answers. I don’t know what happened, but it seems like everything ends up being justified and I don’t understand that. Nobody understands that, you know.”

The slogan “Jail Killer Cops, Not Protesters” has helped to clarify who the real criminals are. People say the police routinely come into the neighborhoods to intimidate and harass them; one group recounts the police throwing out rival clique signs to instigate a response. Others talk about their children being labeled “gang” members. The New Jim Crow is palpable: a woman tells of the pain of having her family members in prison—her husband sentenced for 60 years, her son sentenced for 115 years, and her daughter on the run.

There has been confusion due to the fact that gangs exist in the neighborhood and many think it is because of the gangs that the cops are coming down hard on them. The Los Angeles RCP’s statement takes that on:

"Automatic labeling of Blacks and Latinos as gang members has become a codeword to criminalize and demonize millions of youth, to justify locking them up, and outright murdering them in the streets. The people in gangs were not the ones who moved the jobs away and then flooded the ghettos and barrios with poverty, degradation and hopelessness. The gangs were not the ones who created racial discrimination and segregation in the schools, jobs, housing and every aspect of life, and then unleash the cops to beat and brutalize people to accept these conditions. The dynamics of the capitalist system and the conscious policies of the ruling class politicians created this situation."

As people stand up, they begin to look at things in a new way... different sets have come together to fight the power. And big questions are being raised about why things are they way they are and how they could be different.

Building a Movement for Revolution

Revolution newspaper and BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, along with BAsics quotes 1:13, 1:24, 3:1, 3:3, and 2:16, as well as the palm card on the 12 ways to be involved in the movement for revolution have all been in the mix.

People are struggling to understand the root of the problem—the capitalist-imperialist system. They are asking us why we are there and how long have we been around? One very young person tells Revolution he never knew that the “world is a horror” and he sums things up by saying, “So you’re saying the world is bad and we can change it.” He goes off with his copy of Revolution newspaper and with the BA image cards. A youth comes by and sees another youth reading BAsics. He calls out, “That’s a good book.”

The BAsics Bus Tour videos from Sanford, Florida, on YouTube have been key for people to grasp what this is all about. A woman who watched the video bought BAsics instead of using her money to pay her phone bill. She mentioned that she would want to go on this bus tour.

People readily took up small stacks of BAsics palm cards, others bought Revolution newspaper, and many grew interested in knowing more about Bob Avakian, as concentrated in BAsics. People are beginning to get a sense that this is a very serious movement for revolution aiming to make “NO MORE” a reality. As “On the Strategy for Revolution” from the RCP says, “Such ‘jolts’ in the ‘normal functioning’ of things ... do create situations in which many more people are searching for answers and open to considering radical change.”

As of August 3, many people remained in jail, including minors. A major meeting is planned for Wednesday, August 8, in the auditorium of Anaheim High School. Revolution will report on future developments.

Justice for Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo!
The whole damn system is guilty!
Jail the killer cops! Drop the charges on all protesters!


Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond