A year after Anaheim unrest, Zimmerman verdict renews rally for reform

Protesters chalked slogans in front of Anaheim's City Hall on Sunday, July 21, 2013, a year after a police shooting sparked violence in the community.
Protesters chalked slogans in front of Anaheim's City Hall on Sunday, July 21, 2013, a year after a police shooting sparked violence in the community.
Hayley Fox/ KPCC

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A day after demonstrators around the U.S. gathered to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman, crowds are meeting in the Orange County city of Anaheim to mark the anniversary of the death of an unarmed Latino man who was shot by police last year. 

Manuel Diaz was running from officers when he was shot by Anaheim officers on July 21, 2012. The event was among several shootings involving officers in the city last summer, and for days afterward, protests and some violence rocked Anaheim following the incident. 

Event organizers say they'd been planning on holding Sunday's rally against police brutality long before the news of Zimmerman's acquittal sent protesters into the street in New York, Atlanta, Oakland and L.A. 

About 20-30 families who say they've been affected by police violence are scheduled to speak on the steps of Anaheim's police department, as are a number of activists from the Bay Area and elsewhere. 

Caravans of speakers and protesters came in from across the state, including Oxnard, Ventura, Sacramento, and the Bay Area for Sunday's rally. 

Mike Prysner, an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition said Sunday's planned rally was planned long ago to bring focus to what he says is a regular occurance for many communities.

"This is something that people deal with on a daily basis. losing loved ones but also dealing with daily harassment, daily police abuse in their neighborhoods and communities."

Manuel Diaz's mother Genevieve Huizar was in downtown L.A. for a breakfast meet-up held for the families and event organizers. She said the real importance of Sunday's protest was to unite families from across California who had lost a loved one to a shooting by police. And she called on the President to investigate more than Trayvon Martin's case.

"This is just opening info to the public and to the world that we're tired of all these killings that are going on," she said. "If Obama says we have to look at the federal, state and local level, for one young man, you better look at it for the whole United States, President."  

On Saturday, people have rallied across California and in dozens of U.S. cities, urging authorities to press federal civil rights charges against a George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network organized the "Justice for Trayvon" rallies and vigils on Saturday in at least 101 cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

The Florida case has become a flashpoint in national debates over self-defense, guns, and race relations.

Zimmerman, who successfully claimed that he was protecting himself when he shot Martin, identifies himself as Hispanic. Martin was black.