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Protests Continue In Anaheim Over Police Killings, LA City Council Goes Med Weed Crazy….and Considering Insanity Pleas

July 25th, 2012 by Celeste Fremon


WEDNESDAY UPDATE:

The U.S. Attorney’s office has agreed to review the weekend shootings, according to Anaheim mayor Tom Tait. He will meet on Friday with members of U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI. The AP report has more.

In addition, the mother of Manual Diaz, the man who was killed by Anaheim police on Saturday has publicly and emotionally condemned the violent protests, the AP reports. (NOTE: I’m linking to the Atlanta Journal Constitution version of the AP story because they have posted a video of last night’s violent mess of a demonstration.)


Tuesday night marks the fourth day of protests in Anaheim over the Saturday shooting of an unarmed man, Manual Diaz, who was said to be running from Anaheim officers when he was reportedly shot in the leg and the back of the head.

The community was further upset when, in the minutes after the Diaz shooting, distressed residents and onlookers began arguing with police, at which point officers shot non-lethal projectiles at the crowd that included small children. At one point, a K-9 police dog raced into the same crowd and visibly fastened its teeth to one man’s person or shirt, it’s hard to tell which. Much of this was caught in the KCAL 9 video posted above in a scene that is undeniably disturbing.

Then on Sunday, a second Anaheim man, 21-year-old Joel Mathew Acevedo, was shot and killed by police after he allegedly opened fire after a car chase involving a stolen vehicle, although there is some dispute over the details that account.

Columnist Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly broke the news of the second shooting after noting a Facebook post by the dead man’s mother, whom it turns out he knew.

Whether or not the Acevedo shooting was righteous, it was the last thing this on edge community needed.

Although the Acevedo shooting was reportedly righteous, coming so soon after after that of Diaz, it further inflamed the expanding groups of protesters.

On Tuesday night, protests moved into violence. The LA Times reported that protesters grabbed rocks from a construction site and “hurled them at officers.”

The LA Times also reported that, according to the police, an OC Register reporter was injured by a rock.

Some of the now ubiquitous (and often effective) freelance videographers, doing live streaming from their cell phones, reported being fired at with tiny “bean bags,” pepper balls, and “impact weapons” despite holding up press passes. One of the streaming videographers kept wishing on camera that he had brought his helmet, worrying about rock throwers as well as police. Around 11 pm, live streamers reported the sound of windows being broken at a Starbucks down the street, presumably by protestors. Meanwhile fires burned in nearby dumpsters.


The AP has an overview of events in Anaheim, where it seems anger at the police force has been brewing in the city for a while.

In their team coverage, the OC Register reports that two officers have been put on leave following the shooting of Diaz.

Here’s a clip from the OC Register’s report from the weekend:

Police described Diaz as a “documented gang member,” and said he was shot after the officers saw three men near a car in the 600 block of Anna Drive, near La Palma Avenue and State College Boulevard. Believing the activity to be suspicious, the officers approached the vehicle, and all three men fled on foot.

The officers chased Diaz and observed him throwing unidentified objects onto rooftops as he ran, Welter said. What led one of the officers to shoot Diaz remained under investigation Sunday, Welter said.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said he would be asking California’s attorney general to assist in the investigation.

“I’m asking for a full investigation,” Tait said at a Sunday news conference. “Transparency is essential. Whatever the truth is, we will own it.”

The dead man’s sister, Lupe Diaz, said Sunday that her brother was “just hanging out with friends” before the shooting.

“There is no explanation,” Diaz said. “It’s not fair.”

The Registor also reported that, according to the Anaheim police, the K-9 police dog, which evidently bit several people, got loose from a police car accidentally.

Reuters reports that Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait is now calling for both a state and federal review of the whole matter.


AND IN OTHER NEWS……THE LA CITY COUNCIL JUST SAYS NO TO RETAIL MEDICAL MARIJUANA

For 5 years, the LA City Council has been trying—unsuccessfully-–to come up with a sensible way to regulate the medical marijuana dispensaries that have been popping up in the city like….well…weeds. Now, it seems, because of the council’s inability to come up with a legally viable way to set down some firm guidelines, big pot sellers have taken advantage of the situation (how shocking!), thus our fair council members have decided to shut down all retail sales—-with the possible exception of 182 dispensaries that opened before a 2007 city moratorium, which might—or might not— have been given some kind of loophole. What kind of loophole, and what practical difference it will make, seems somewhat unclear.

In other words, there is still a lot of uncertainty about what this vote will mean for medical marijuana in LA in the future.

For the moment, however, KPCC’s Alice Walton has one of the best reports on Tuesday’s medical weed banning activities.

Here’s how her story opens:

Nonprofit storefronts that sell medical marijuana will be banned in the city of Los Angeles under a proposal approved Tuesday.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 14-0 to prohibit the sale of medical cannabis in retail establishments. However, exemptions will allow patients to continue growing marijuana for their own use, and primary caregivers may continue to distribute the drug.

The vote, which came after hours of public testimony and debate, drew sharp criticism from patients who use medical marijuana to tame the side effects of their illnesses. Some public speakers shouted at council members and then the police officers who took to the council chamber after the vote.

Earlier in the day, the council heard from patients and advocates of medical marijuana.

“A ban on medical cannabis collectives and cooperatives is an attack on patients. They need this. It can work in other cities,” said Don Duncan, the California director of Americans for Safe Access. “You guys have to get it together and pass regulations that protect safe access for legitimate patients for legal operations.”

The original vote against the ban was 13-1, with Councilman Paul Koretz dissenting. However, the councilman later flipped his vote so the ordinance could get to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s desk sooner. The ban will take effect in about 40 days. Dispensary owners who do not close their businesses could face fines or misdemeanors, according to the City Attorney’s Office.

Dennis Romero at the LA Weekly also has a good report. But be sure to read through all the updates for the full story.


IS THE INSANITY DEFENSE A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT? SCOTUS MAY—OR MAY NOT—ELECT TO DECIDE

The Washington Post’s Robert Barnes has done a great job laying out this interesting and important question just as the Supreme Court was hearing a request to take on the issue. Here’s how Barnes’ story opens:

There’s no doubt John Joseph Delling knew what he was doing. His carefully planned 2007 crime spree lasted weeks, covered 6,500 miles and culminated in two people dead and one seriously wounded.

He had his reasons, too. Delling, then 21, had become “a type of Jesus,” he later explained, and the men he attacked, two of them former classmates he had not seen in years, were stealing his “energy.” An MRI of his brain would have revealed the damage the men had already caused, he told authorities.

I had to defend myself,” he said.

As the nation confronts another act of unfathomable madness, Delling’s story is one chapter in a distressing and violent genre: the loner who tries to impress a movie star by shooting the president; the mother who drowns her children to save them from damnation; the black-clad shooter who seems to step from the movie screen to kill.

But Delling’s case presents an intriguing legal question as well. He committed his crimes in Idaho, which is one of only four states — Kansas, Montana and Utah are the others — in which a defendant may not use insanity as a defense to criminal charges.

Delling’s lawyers are now at the Supreme Court, asking the justices to rule that the Constitution mandates that such a defense be available for those who, because of mental illness, are not responsible for the mayhem they create.

“For centuries, the moral integrity of the criminal law has depended, in part, on the insanity defense,” Stanford law professor Jeffrey L. Fisher wrote in a petition on Delling’s behalf.

Posted in Contemplating Crime & Consequence, crime and punishment, criminal justice, law enforcement, Medical Marijuana, Supreme Court | 6 Comments »

6 Responses

  1. Mike Says:

    You write “Whether or not the Acevedo shooting was righteous, it was the last thing this on edge community needed”. Really?

    Since the suspect “allegedly opened fire after a car chase involving a stolen vehicle.” maybe a dead cop is what the community needed?

    How about if the suspect had not stolen the car? How about if he had pulled over and given up? I’ve heard that allegedly” he was an ex-con and a documented gang member so how about if he had not been in possesion of a firearm? How about if he had not fired on the officers?

    And what’s up with people bringing their small kids to a protest? Stupid. Even if you choose to do so, as soon as you see people trying to pick a fight with the police, setting fires, and as soon as you see the first object thrown you get you and your child home.

    The majority of the people in Anaheim are glad the officers fired upon won that gun fight. They needed the officers to survive and the suspect down. If he is willing to fight it out with armed police he would not care at all about hurting the community. His actions prove my statement.

    I am sure the officer’s involved in the shooting would have been just fine had the suspect survived and they got to go to court and testify.

    Words and what you write matters….

    Mike

  2. 998 Says:

    These assholes are thinking these incidents are going to garner the reaction from the media as was in Fullerton (peaceful demonstrations). Two completely different circumstances.

    The Anaheim incidents were on the up and up. Don’t run from the cops, don’t run from the cops in a stolen vehicle and shoot at the cops. This “outrage” is some type of La Raza response. I say to the protestors, bring it on ’cause we are going to hand you your ass.

    Now we have to see what the weak knee politicians will do. To the cops, hold your ground, we got your back. After all, you work in the happiest place on earth.

  3. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Mike, I think you’re right about that sentence. It was poorly phrased in that it could imply something that I didn’t intend. With that in mind, I made a correction.

    FYI: Eyewitness accounts that conflict with those of the Anaheim police have been reported by a couple of media outlets regarding the circumstances of the Acevedo shooting. I didn’t note them in the story because, without further corroboration, it was not possible to know whether they were at all credible, so I wasn’t comfortable repeating them in a report of mine. But, for whatever it turns out to be worth, that’s what’s going on at the moment.

  4. Notsurprised Says:

    People who are marching to bring attention to alleged “police misconduct” should have done it in a peaceful manner and this would bring more credibility to their concerns. Rioting in the streets, looting and causeing damage to business is not bring them sympathy for their concerns. Bring small children to these violent events and allowing your teens to participate is not good parenting because you are jeopordizing their lives. The “community” feels harrassed and profiled by Anaheim Police is of one major concern, perhaps this is a valid point. Crime has gone up in Anaheim compared to other nearby cities. Local government has to find answers, are charges true, are their enough police officers, are they properly trained? The videos of the first riot looked really bad, officers shooting bean bags with a bunch of kids all over and women running. A police officer is only supposed to draw his weapon to kill in order to save his own life or that of another individual. Being a known gang banger, having dope on your person or running from the police does not give any police officer license to shoot you. I understand Mr. Diaz was shot in the buttocks and then in the back of the head. I’ve heard a rumor that the office shooting thought he had a weapon at his waist and was reaching for it. Seems kind of farfeached because the victim was shot from the back. This will all come out in the investigation. However, the citizens of this community need to stop the violence now and take their concerns to the local government in a peaceful manner.

  5. sucks Says:

    If I get deployed to handle those idiots, I’m not going to be a happy camper. If I get attacked once I’m there, in the words of comedian Russell Peters, “somebody gonna get a hurt real bad”.

  6. Enough is enough Says:

    Haven’t we had enough? It’s the same old story replayed every month. Gang member commits a felony, runs from the police, and gets beaten or killed in the process. Tough shit. I’m tired of watching California turn into a third world cesspool of other country’s crap. All these people breaking stuff and acting like idiots should be thankful they can do it here. Back home in “Mejico” you’d probably be shot…go back there and give it a try. Kudos to Anaheim PD for not backing down. Rubber bullets…keep them stocked and keep shooting these idiots off the streets.

    Oh, “Notsurprised” it is entirely within the scope of reason an armed individual can reach for a weapon in the front of his body and be shot in the process. He got shot in the back…so what? That is the most illogical argument and shows the lack of intelligence on the part of these idiots. Can you legally be shot in the back? 100% yes, sorry.

    Keep taking out the trash.

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