At least 75 protesters stormed the lobby of the Anaheim police station on Sunday in response to an officer-involved shooting on Saturday night in which an unarmed man was shot and killed as he ran down a residential alley, according to reports. Two officers were placed on paid leave after the shooting, according to Anaheim Police Chief John Welter.
Welter told reporters that two officers saw a man lean into a sedan and begin talking to two men inside the car. Police believed it to be suspicious and gave chase, according to the Register. An officer located one of the men, and "during that encounter, an officer involved shooting occurred in which the male was injured," police wrote in a news release.
The man, identified by police and family members as Manuel Diaz, died at 7 p.m. Saturday. His sister, Lupe Diaz, says he was just hanging out with friends, but Welter said Manuel Diaz was engaged in suspicious activity that typified "exchanging drugs or guns" in the "high crime" neighborhood.
Sunday afternoon's protest was just one in a series of rallies that have been going on since hours after the shooting, according to Sgt. Bob Dunn. Protesters gathered at the crime scene Saturday night, setting fire to trash cans and throwing rocks at police. Officers responded by firing bean bags and pepper balls into the crowd. Police made a handful of arrests at the protests.
One woman, speaking to the Register, said she was hit by a rubber bullet. "I do want to point out that officers in that situation can't retreat," said Welter. "They're charged with protecting the crime scene."
Protesters were only further rankled when an Anaheim police dog bit at least one civilian, which police said happened after the dog accidentally escaped.
"There was no intention to release the police dog," said Welter, apologizing for the incident.
One woman at Sunday's rally, who identified herself only as Teri, said that she was there specifically because of the dog incident.
"It went after a mother and child in a stroller," she said. "They had a hard time pulling it off, they did not have control over their dog. There's no excuse for that. It could've been my daughter and child."
Anaheim City Councilwoman Lorri Galloway has told protesters in front of Anaheim Police headquarters that she's asking Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the shooting.
"We will do everything we can to find the truth about what truly happened out there," said Councilwoman Lorri Galloway.
Officer-involved shootings have been under discussion in Southern California recently, though largely in relationship to Los Angeles County incidents. Such shootings rose by 70 percent between 2010 and 2011 in L.A. County, with 54 people killed by law enforcement in 2011. In two-thirds of cases, the victim was armed at the time. A new report, issued earlier this month by an LAPD watchdog agency, says more data is needed about officer-involved shootings before it can evaluate why the number skyrocketed. Since the spike, the numbers have leveled off.
Saturday's incident also came three months after Pasadena police came under fire when one of its officers shot an unarmed man.
This story has been updated.