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La Opinión Calls for Calm in Aftermath of Anaheim Shootings

Posted: Jul 26, 2012

Editor's Note: The shooting of Manuel Diaz by police in Anaheim, Calif. on Saturday has sparked protests in a part of Los Angeles where Latinos already had an uneasy relationship with police. An editorial in today's La Opinión argues that it is critical to stay calm and not confuse peaceful demonstrations with the looting and destruction of property.

The fatal shootings of two individuals last weekend in incidents involving the Anaheim police warrant the federal investigation being called for by city officials, as well as other actions.

Member of the local community are understandably upset with the increase in the number of police shootings this year in comparison to last year. To date there have been six incidents with five fatalities in comparison to four cases in all of last year. Of the two fatalities this past weekend, the incident involving Manuel Diaz on Saturday is the most controversial because he was unarmed, because of the bullets fired, and because it is unclear as to what occurred.

Residents' frustration has mounted and fueled protests, which in turn have brought repressive police tactics and destructive actions that lead nowhere.

It is essential to rebuild the damaged relations between the Latino community and the Anaheim Police Department. A start would be to consider following the efforts put in place by the Los Angeles Police Department to actively engage in community relations.

It is also important to consider if Anaheim should have a citizens' police oversight commission, such as exists in Los Angeles.

What is critical right now is to stay calm and not confuse peaceful demonstrations with the looting of businesses and the destruction of property.

In order to insure public safety it is imperative to rebuild the trust that the city's majority Latino community has with its police force. For this to happen the details of these shootings need to be cleared up, remembering that what is important is what actually happened and not the supposed gang affiliation of those who died.

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