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Citizens Collect Signatures, Demand For State Probe Of Anaheim PD

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ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — Orange County activists have collected approximately 17,000 signatures for a petition demanding the State Attorney General conduct a full investigation into the Anaheim Police Department following two deadly shootings and subsequently violent protests.

KCAL9’s Louisa Hodge reports the signatures collected by Presente.org were set to be handed over to the California State Attorney General Kamala Harris on Monday.

On Sunday, more than 200 people protested recent officer-involved shootings in Anaheim and at times threatened to take their demonstration to Disneyland.

Police arrested nine people, including one woman accused of assaulting two people at a gas station.

Sunday’s demonstration was one of several protests held last week in reaction to the fatal shootings of two men by Anaheim police.

On July 21, Manuel Diaz, who police have identified as a documented gang member from Santa Ana, was approached by officers around 4 p.m. in the 600 block of North Anna Drive. Police said Diaz and his two companions ran off, but an officer caught up to Diaz and shot him when he reportedly threw an unidentified object.

However, no weapons were found at the scene and Diaz died at a hospital several hours later.

On July 22, Anaheim police fatally shot Joel Mathew Acevedo at the end of a stolen-car pursuit. Acevedo, 21, who is also described as a gang member, allegedly fired at officers before he was fatally shot.

But despite growing outrage over three police shootings in the past nine days, KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports Anaheim Police Chief John Welter has no plans to step down.

“Where somebody says, ‘We don’t think you’re leading the department properly, then I would certainly have to consider that, but I don’t think that’s the case,” said Welter.

However, Welter did acknowledge the department could certainly reach out to mend ties with local residents.

“If the community has the perception that we’re not respecting them or that there’s issues here that we need to resolve, then we’re going to resolve them,” he said.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait met with officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI last week. Both federal agencies agreed to conduct an independent review of the two fatal shootings. City officials agreed to provide information on all of the department’s officer-involved shootings this year.

The city also wants the Office of Independent Review in Los Angeles County to evaluate the city’s policies regarding the use of force by police.

The office was also hired by Fullerton officials following the in-custody death of schizophrenic transient Kelly Thomas last year.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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