Between 200 and 350 participate in the initially peaceful protest, a police sergeant says
A few spun off and things got "more agitated," he adds
The demonstrations follow the fatal shootings of two men this month by police
There had been four days of protests and nights of rioting after those shootings
Two people were arrested Sunday out of hundreds who hit the streets of Anaheim to protest police shootings in that southern California city, a police spokesman said.
Between 200 and 350 people participated in the demonstrations, according to Sgt. Bob Dunn from the Anaheim police department.
Initially, the protest was orderly and peaceful. But then “there was a push by a few in the group to get things more agitated,” said Dunn.
This fringe group took to the streets, heading south, but officers were able to push them back toward the police station, the sergeant said.
Several people subsequently posted photos on Twitter of armed police dressed in camouflage. Video from the scene showed several uniformed officers on horseback on a leafy median, as a few protesters wearing colorful costumes and carrying signs walked by on one side of the street.
Dunn, from the Anaheim police department, said that a core group of demonstrators have made themselves known to police. Some of them successfully urged a few protesters who’d scaled a police wall Sunday to come down, he pointed out.
By 5:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. ET), a “little group” remained in the area, though Dunn said that police at that point weren’t expecting any more issues.
The recent spurt of activism follows the July 21 fatal shooting by officers of 25-year-old Manuel Diaz, which sparked days of raucous protests and confrontations with police.
Police and an attorney for the Diaz family have both said he was unarmed at the time of the shooting, though police say that he was throwing objects at officers. Authorities have described Diaz as a gang member.
The next day, July 22, a man whom police had been pursuing in a car theft case allegedly shot at police. Officers returned fire, killing him.
In the aftermath of those incidents, demonstrators disrupted a city council meeting last Tuesday at city mall – which is less than a mile and a half north of Disneyland – then blocked a major intersection and refused to move, said police Chief John Welter. Dunn earlier told CNN that, after the city hall protest broke up, some demonstrators moved around, fought amongst themselves, lit fires and committed vandalism.
By day’s end, police had made 24 arrests, according to Welter.
While insisting violent protests “will not be tolerated,” Anaheim Mayor Tom Wait said Wednesday that he’d asked the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles to investigate both police shootings. That night, the city returned to relatively calm after four straight nights of rioting.