Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Are police entitled to shoot you in the back when you run from them?

I don't think so nor do many others, it seems

Shocking video has emerged which depicts police officers firing rubber bullets into a rioting crowd which includes women and children.

The footage also shows a police dog rushing in to the fray and nearly knocking over a mother who was pushing her baby in a stroller.

The violent scenes came in the wake of an incident where a 24-year-old man was shot dead after running away from police, two of whom have now been suspended.

As officers were investigating what happened at the scene in Anaheim, California on Saturday, an angry group of people began yelling and throwing bottles at them, according to Sergeant Bob Dunn.

After police detained several people, the crowd apparently advanced on the officers, who responded by firing tear gas and beanbag rounds at them.

Video captured by a bystander and broadcast by KCAL-TV showed a chaotic scene in which officers fired beanbag rounds as some people ducked to the ground and others scattered screaming.

A man is seen yelling at an officer even as a weapon is pointed at him, while two adults huddled to shield a boy and girl.

Meanwhile, a police dog ran into several people sitting on the grass, including a woman and a child in a stroller, before biting a man in the arm. The woman with the child was Susan Lopez, who tearfully told KCAL: 'They just released the dog, and I had my baby in my stroller.' Mr Dunn said the dog was 'deployed accidentally' after somehow escaping from a patrol car.

On Sunday, demonstrators stormed the headquarters of Anaheim Police as officers prepared to hold a news conference about the unrest.

Protestors chanted 'no justice, no peace' and 'cops, pigs, murderers' as officers stood by and watched, according to the Orange County Register.

The shooting that kicked off the violence involved Manuel Diaz, 24, who was shot in front of an apartment complex around 4pm on Saturday following a foot chase and died in hospital three hours later.

The man's niece, 16-year-old Daisy Gonzalez, said her uncle probaly ran away from officers when they approached him because of his past experience with law enforcement. 'He [doesn't] like cops,' Gonzalez told the Register after lighting a candle for her uncle. 'He never liked them because all they do is harass and arrest anyone.'

She cursed at officers who were nearby and a police helicopter that hovered overhead.

Throughout the night, police in multiple marked and unmarked squad cars attempted to control an unruly crowd gathered near the shooting scene.

Some in the crowd moved a dumpster into an intersection and set its trash on fire on at least three separate occasions, while officers kept responding to move it out of the way of traffic.

Mr Dunn said gang detectives are involved in the investigation.

Crystal Ventura, a 17-year-old who witnessed the shooting, told the Register that Diaz had his back to the officer. She said the man was shot in the buttocks area.

The man then went down on his knees, Miss Ventura said, adding that he was struck by another bullet in the head. She said another officer handcuffed the man, who by then was on the ground and not moving.

'They searched his pockets, and there was a hole in his head, and I saw blood on his face,' Miss Ventura told the newspaper.

Mr Dunn said the man shot by police was one of three men who ran away from officers who approached them in an alley. The other two suspects have not been captured.

At a news conference on Sunday, the local police chief confirmed that five people had been arrested for their part in the protest, while two of the officers involved in the original shooting had been suspended.

Original report here

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