Police killings, military fatigue-clad SWAT teams, blocked streets, and the terrorization of men, women and children with attack dogs and rubber bullets. By these signs, the land just beyond Disney’s “Magic Kingdom” appears to be under siege.
See footage of a violent altercation between police and members of Anaheim’s Latino community below.
The militaristic spectacle comes in response to an upsurge in already regular police brutality protests in Anaheim. In the past 10 days Anaheim police shot dead two young Latino men — the fourth and fifth fatal police shootings in the area this year alone (four of which involved Hispanic men). This is Anaheim, outside of the Happiest Place on Earth™; a long-festering situation of inequality and police aggression falling — as is so often the case — along racial fault lines and beyond the media gaze.
Ten days ago, police handcuffed Manuel Diaz, 25, as he lay face-down in the grass outside an apartment block. The unarmed young man did not resist — he had already been shot in the back of the head after an incident that police have not described. Just a few hundred feet away police violently dispersed a crowd that gathered to see the commotion; video footage of beanbag and rubber pellets aimed at close range, as well as a police dog unleashed and bounding at a distraught woman carrying her baby, soon went viral. The very next day, Joel Mathew Acevedo, 21, also was shot dead by Anaheim police officers. Acevedo reportedly had opened fire on police, but was fatally shot while running away. Since then, protests both riotous and calm have brought SWAT teams to Anaheim, keen to neutralize dissent in Disneyland’s home.