One day after demonstrators across the nation marched against the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial, a crowd of 150 people gathered at a rally on Sunday in Anaheim to protest police brutality.
The rally, which began at Anaheim City Hall and ended at the Anaheim Police Department, coincided with the one-year anniversary of the shooting of 25-year-old Manuel Diaz, a convicted felon who was killed as he was fleeing from Anaheim police after an officer identified him as a gang member.
His family denied he was in a gang but the shooting was ruled justified by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
The incident marked the 30th time someone was brutalized by police, said Michael Prysner, a member of Act Now to Stop War and Racism (ANSWER), the organization that hosted the rally. Prysner attributes the use of excessive force by police to racial profiling.
“There’s definitely a link between racial profiling and law enforcement,” Prysner said. “A young black man like Trayvon Martin was automatically profiled and lethal force was used against him.”
The families of 20 people who were shot by Anaheim police spoke at the rally, including the family of Diaz.
In an open letter, the mothers of Diaz and Joel Acevedo – who was shot by Anaheim police and killed just a day after Diaz – urged the people of Southern California to unite and help stop police violence.
“We call on all of you, from Bakersfield to San Diego, to converge in Anaheim again, on the one year anniversary of those dramatic events,” wrote Genevieve Huizar and Donna Michell Castro in the letter. “We will march united, in the name of our fallen sons, to demand an end to police brutality throughout the region.”
City News Service contributed to this report.
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