Progressive Tendency to Romanticize Civil Disorder On Display in Anaheim

Rioters of the World, Unite!

Rioters of the World, Unite!

The weekend incident between Donna Castro and the Anaheim police is a vivid illustration at how differently political progressives view the issue of crime.

This screed by Vern Nelson on Orange Juice Blog is a good example. Every death from an officer-involved shooting is termed a “murder.” The criminality of those shot by the Anaheim police is glossed over. Nelson paints a Manichean picture of trigger-happy rogue cops recklessly blasting away at young Latino males who are minding their own business.

Nelson also lauds the rowdy crowd that quickly gathered around the scene where Anaheim police officer Kelly Phillips ticketed Castro for impeding traffic – although he fails to mention the mob taunted the police and angrily pelted them with bottles and eggs.

Members of the mob took videos and uploaded them to Ustream – a tactic Nelson salutes and encourages. You don’t see much of the police, but you do get an earful of obscenity-laden threats and hectoring of the police. [It’s interesting how the witnesses who claim to see all manner of Anaheim police misbehavior never have any pictures or video to back up their claims, despite the ubiquity of camera phones.]

What’s instructive is this behavior strikes Vern Nelson and other progressives as a good and worthy. Progressives tend to be romantics, inclined to see behavior like that in the videos — or last summer’s “unrest” — as more akin to the Parisian workers manning the Commune barricades than what it is: an unruly mob trying to provoke the police.

A riot isn’t a riot – it’s “civil unrest.” When the woman on the video screams, “Keep Kelly Phillips off of our street! This is what you’ll have to deal with every time. We’re all going to come out here, and we’re all going to protest your asses,” the progressive ear hears the thrilling opening chords of an uprising against The Man. It’s exciting.

The average Anaheim resident on the other hand, viewing civic life through the lens of ordered liberty and placing due value on tranquility and lawfulness, is more likely to react very differently to scenes like that in the Ustream video. This is precisely the kind of disorderly conduct and incipient lawlessness they don’t want in their neighborhoods, let alone in their city.

I’ll put it another way: during last year’s Anaheim city council campaign, no candidate sent out mailers promising to crack down on the police; but the major candidates fell all over themselves vowing to crack down on criminals.

Today, Los Amigos hosted a press conference and grandiosely claimed to be channeling the collective psyche of “Working-Class Anaheim Neighborhoods,” which are apparently crying out “Enough to Police Brutality and Harassment.”

I find it interesting how we don’t see Los Amigos organizing press conferences proclaiming “Working Class Anaheim Neighborhoods” say “Enough to Gang Crime, Violence and Intimidation.”

I would encourage the progressive elements in Anaheim to take these videos and repackage them as cable ads calling for a civilian police oversight commission.


  1. Progressives??? Or Hypocrites???

  2. Maybe Los Amigos is busy beating up on and pushing out principals who don’t agree with them!

  3. Anaheim Avenger

    Such a great assessment – sad but good. It shouldn’t be this way. One can’t help but feel that these groups, Moreno, Galloway and the ACLU are using the real hard working people of Anaheim to forward their own agendas.

  4. Matt, to begin with, how do you know what the average Anaheim resident wants? How much time do you spend talking with Anaheim people who are not paying you? I have no connection whatsoever to criminal activity, I am not a member of the ACLU, and I fear my Police-I have been victimized by them myself. I am tired of the attitude that support the Police gets translated to turn a blind eye to anything they wish to do, and never question them. I can tell you from personal experience we have some genuine jerks on the force-we also have a vast majority of very, very good men and women who want to do a good job, but their reputations-and their safety-are being compromised by the few bad eggs. For the record, I went to then-Mayor Pringle with my problem with the cops, and two witnesses went with me, women known to him. Not only was nothing done, the whole thing was covered up. I brought it up again at a recent Council meeting, when Pringle’s robocall arrogantly claimed Council is sufficient oversight. Mayor Tait was the ONLY leader who bothered to ask what happened and whether the issue was resolved or if I needed help. Those you support here have zero interest in the average Anaheim citizen-we may vote but we don’t do massive IEs, so we do not count.

    As far as challenging the opposing viewpoints, and the lack of evidence you claim…the taxpayers of Anaheim have spent about $200k on digital audio recorders in the last year, Kerry Condon said that was proof they did not need additional oversight, because they have those recordings to fall back on. Go read the District Attorney’s reports on the shootings-cops are not USING the DARs. A) what did our money go to? B) why would you not turn that on if you believe yourself to be in the right? The encounters were not a surprise, in every case the Police chose to engage the men they later shot, why not turn the things on? Wouldn’t you want your righteous words and actions recorded as evidence? That was the argument they used when they got taxpayers to foot the bill.

    As far as the criminal activity of the young men who lost their lives, I do not pretend to know what happened. (nor do you) but I do know that the moms have not been charged with any crimes-yet are treated like criminals. I thought it was only barbaric cultures that allowed their women to be punished for the sins of their men. Have we become a civilization that condones the practice of having the village elders take a woman out back to be stoned to death in atonement for the misdeeds of her son, and regaining some tribal honor? Do not tell me that we KNOW they were bad mothers, anyone who raised a kid to adulthood can tell you that yes, it takes a lot of work and we bust tail to present a good example to our kids-but it is still largely dumb luck, and some of the worse brats I know came from very good homes where the parents did everything right. On the flip side I know people who probably should not have reproduced who turned out an awesome kid. I have 4 now-adult offspring, and the fact that they all turned out to be wonderful productive members of society was just plain God’s grace. I cannot condemn a mother for the shortcomings of her children-and it is uncharitable of you to do so! It is especially brutal to take that tone with women who are already dealing with unimaginable grief.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Cynthia, this is such a disconnected, uninformed, illogical hash I don’t even know where to start.

      I’ll pick a couple, because I don’t want to waste my entire night dissecting your drama queen drivel. How about with this egregiously stupid comment:

      “I cannot condemn a mother for the shortcomings of her children-and it is uncharitable of you to do so! It is especially brutal to take that tone with women who are already dealing with unimaginable grief.”

      You’re a real saint, Cynthia. The problem is you are blasting me for something I did not write! I didn’t condemn Donna Castro. What is it with you? Are trying to exploit her grief to silence contrary viewpoints?

      And here’s another gem of ignorance:

      “Matt, to begin with, how do you know what the average Anaheim resident wants?”

      Cynthia, here’s some free advice:it helps to actually know what you are talking about before opening your mouth (or typing on your keyboard, as the case may be). You rely heavily on assumptions and speculation.

      The reality is I have quite a few friends who live in Anaheim (mostly in the flatlands). You forget that I have lived in neighboring Orange all my life. I went to high school in Anaheim. I live only several hundred feet from Anaheim. Many of the families at our school live in Anaheim.

      Sorry, Cynthia: you are not the Oracle of Anaheim.

    • Hold parents accountable through parental resoonsibility laws and there will be no “Stompers” to stomp on us. When parents are heavily fined for their children’s gangster behavior it’s funny how gang’s have no one to recruit.

  5. Okay, a few things. I won’t bother arguing the basic facts with you, but just a few things:

    First, yes I do understand why you use Donna’s maiden name Castro. Yes, very cute, very scary to the common “average Anaheim resident” you dream will someday read your blog – a Communist dictator! But you know perfectly well that her real name is Acevedo, just like her son and husband.

    Oh, this is important – Los Amigos had nothing to do with the press event. It was put together by Donna; I helped a little. Los Amigos just let her use their space at Jagerhaus when they were done.

    You claim that I “call every officer-involved shooting a ‘murder'” and yet you link to my article, in which I don’t call ANY officer-involved shooting a “murder.” Quite bold and cavalier of you, to trust that none of your readers will get curious and click on your link!

    We do all agree, you and me and Donna, that “unrest” is a very silly euphemism for “riot.” That’s why, I believe, that you’ll never find that euphemism in my writing.

    And of course you’re clueless as to the purpose of filming the police – of COURSE it’s rare to catch them doing something really terrible when they know they’re being filmed. Imagine that – we don’t WANT them doing terrible things! Duh…

    Apart from that, a lotta strawman here, a lotta soullessness, and a lotta high-paid out of town shill pretending he understands the “average Anaheim citizen.” Carry on…

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Vern, your psychic powers have failed you once again. I have seen her referred to in the media as both Castro and Acevedo. I didn’t know Castro was her maiden name. Gabriel San Roman also refers to her as Castro – so you must think he is trying to convince OC Weekly readers that she is a Communist.

      Quit while you’re behind, Vern.

      • gabriel san roman

        For the record, yes I did use the last name Castro to identify Donna when I broke the story of the two officers involved in the July shootings being back on Patrol. Nick Gerda, more recently, has done the same with her name. Since that piece of mine a long time ago, I now refer to her as Acevedo. Nothing more to look into that than just a mix up between maiden and martial name preference.

        BTW, I do have a hearty laugh every time you portray Los Amigos as rabid left-wingers! To real observers, the leadership has been pretty cop friendly.

        Vern: As someone who has covered the Hernandez case, Officer Hurtado was not acquitted of murder in any legal sense. That would have meant the OCDA brought charges that came to a trial ending in such a result.

        • All right, good point, I’ll change that sentence in my article. To “he was absolved by the DA of wrongdoing in the execution of Martin Hernandez.” That seems accurate, as Martin was found sitting on the ground with his legs crossed, shot in the back of the head. Is that better?

          Still, Matt’s claims that in my “screed” I call every officer-involved fatal shooting a “murder”, that I employ the euphemism “unrest” instead of “riot,” let alone that I purvey a “Manichaen” view of evil cops and innocent Latino kids, shows him to be the sloppiest writer in the local blogosphere, and a veteran fighter of strawmen!

          • Matthew Cunningham

            I pointed out you were wrong this morning, to no reaction. But if it helps you save face to pretend you were corrected by Gabriel San Roman, then fine with me.

            As for your other criticism — I could care less, Vern. You’re so in-love with your own wordplay that your posts are almost unreadable. Here’s some free advice (which goes double for Greg Diamond): learn to get to the point – at least in the first 500 words.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      “You claim that I “call every officer-involved shooting a ‘murder’” and yet you link to my article, in which I don’t call ANY officer-involved shooting a “murder.””

      Vern, I refer you to the third sentence in your post:

      “Officer Dan Hurtado, since being acquitted of last March’s murder of Martin Hernandez…”

      You were saying?

      “And of course you’re clueless as to the purpose of filming the police – of COURSE it’s rare to catch them doing something really terrible when they know they’re being filmed.

      Yeah, yeah, Vern – I read you attempt to explain that away. It’s amazing how Anaheim police officers possess the almost supernatural ability to anticipate the dozens and dozens of camera phones in the hands of the multitude of witnesses, and cease their predations just in the nick of time to avoid being recorded. And they seem to be able to pull it off every time! Amazing!

      • “acquitted of murder.” Hello? Acquitted? This is inaccurate somehow? This is calling the shooting a murder somehow?

        Your second point, too dumb to respond to.

        • I guess I should mention, as far as the killing of Joey Acevedo – neighbors WERE trying to film it from up above, the cops were aware of that fact, and they shone bright lights directly at the people filming in order to make what they were doing invisible. 1. Why would they do that? 2. I can send you a link to that video … if you really cared to know the truth …. but of course knowing or admitting the truth is not part of your job description.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Yes, it is inaccurate, Vern – to put it mildly.

          Someone can’t be acquitted of a crime for which they haven’t been charged and tried. Hurtado was never charged with murder, much less tried.for it. The D.A. cleared him of doing anything wrong.

          YOU are the one calling the shooting a murder –something you claim, a few comments above, NOT to have done.

          Like I sad, Vern: quit while you are behind.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          “Your second point, too dumb to respond to.

          Well, Vern – when you have nothing to say, I guess that’s a better response than none.

    • Is Donna Acevedo ready willing and able to apologize to the Lexus owner for her son’s grand theft auto?

    • Sick of politics

      Doesn’t she use Castro when commenting on OCR articles?

  6. Oh, one other thing you’re right about – me and my friends ARE romantics. Like Tom Paine. That doesn’t make you Edmund Burke though. We have him on our side too, in the persons of Tom Tait and Cynthia Ward. You’re just a Tory.

  7. Average Anaheim Citizen

    Donna Acevedo has been coming to city council meetings and booing anyone who speaks and doesn’t agree with her, she drives all over town antagonizing police officers hoping to bait them into an aggressive act, she is the mother of a convicted gang member who allegedly fled a stolen vehicle and fired on officers (and was indicted post mortem by federal authorities) and she calls our police officers executioners and murders all the time so Cynthia Ward and Mr. Nelsons sanctimonious claims that she’s an innocent mother attempting to live her life is just ludicrous. I’m shocked either of them would give long winded explanations excusing her behavior.

    • Donna has never booed anyone at Council meetings. Find it on video – you can’t. You probably have her confused with someone else. That’s okay, I get all you anonymous commenters mixed up too.

  8. Seriously can’t believe she actually wrote, “As far as the criminal activity of the young men who lost their lives” – are you kidding me – they were documented gang members engaged in criminal activity. Cynthia Ward used to lament how the city doesn’t protect its neighborhoods and speak respectfully about the city’s police department – now they are thugs who’ve come after her?! What’s her excuse going to be if the federal authorities come back and justify the DA’s conclusions that the officer involved shooting was justified? What’s her excuse going to be if the actions of Donna Acevedo and her supporters chanting hate filled rants leads to the injury or death of an Anaheim police officer? The APD has not been charged by any law enforcement authority or any credible organization with corruption – enough already with attacking the people who put themselves on the line to protect our city every day.

  9. Sick of Politics

    Many Anaheim residents are entirely sick of the gang crime that has permeated our city. Who wouldn’t be bothered by it? I can only assume that the persons who reside in those areas are more sickened by the conditions than those who live outside those areas. Gang violence is a major problem in this city as well as other areas. Gang members are nothing more than domestic terrorists who prey on residents. What positive attributes do they bring? Drive by shootings? Home invasions? Auto theft? Vandalizing? Violence?
    As a parent, I understand that no matter the circumstance, you will forever grieve the loss of a child. However, if your child has chosen a life of crime you have to ask yourself why. Did I fail as a parent or did my child continually exercise bad judgement? I agree that a child’s misdeeds are not always indicative of bad parenting.
    I support Anaheim PD and think they have an extremely arduous job. When they do patrol the gang areas, they are accused of harassment or called murderers if they get into a shooting. When they avoid the area, they are accused of ignoring the gang neighborhoods for Anaheim Hills. That being said, NO profession should be free of accountability, especially the police. But I certainly think that there are many steps taken to ensure a fair and process for investigating police shootings. Yet before those findings are even released, the media and the families slander the officer’s name. I am surprised one hasn’t brought suit yet.
    Ms.Acevedo claims that her son never fired on officers and that they planted a gun on her son. Where did the gun come from? And how did the officer manage to carry an additional firearm on him without leaving any trace of DNA or fingerprints? T
    he police essentially walk into those neighborhoods with targets on their backs. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Further, what are the residents in those areas doing to help resolve the problem? Their solution is to riot AKA engage in “civil unrest”. SO those residents (mind you many who were arrested were not even from Anaheim) are protesting violence from the police and while protesting they are violent to police and the surrounding residents and businesses. What did the surrounding businesses have to do with the police shootings? NOTHING. And how much money was spent on the riots? When those same residents are complaining about a lack of funds being spent in their area? How does that help their cause? The riots only gave more credibility to the police!
    As far as digital recorders go, officers are not required to keep them running for their entire shift. My understanding is that they are probably encourgaed to turn them on when they make a car stop or are conducting a criminal investigation etc.. However, when you are in a vehicle pursuit and then a foot chase follows, the last thing on your mind is to turn on your recorder. Nevermind that you are focusing on the vehicle pursuit, calling the pursuit out on your radio and then engaging in a foot pursuit with a suspect that just shot at you (AKA TRIED TO KILL YOU). I think it is fair to assume that the officer placed a higher priority on pulling his weapon to defend himself and our city rather than trying to find the ON switch to his recorder.
    Carry on….

  10. Sick of Politics

    Thank you Average Anaheim Citizen and Anaheim Colony!

  11. Sick of Vern Nelson

    Vern Nelson came, he saw…he got his behind kicked!

    Buh-bye, Vern!

    • Sorry, Braveheart, I’m still here and standing. Just because I resist going back and forth pointlessly with a guy like Cunningham doesn’t mean he won any argument. I’ve made my points – to anyone here who has a brain and a heart.

      • City Hall Insider

        A brain and a heart – or anyone who refuses to consider fact and relies on histrionics to make political points…coming from someone who has four DUIs and has put many lives at risk over and over again by extension – who could believe you have a brain or a heart?

  12. You deleted Gabriel San Roman’s comment, Matt? Just because it included your old nickname that you hate now? You could have just crossed that out? And know *I’m* on moderation too? Weak… Enjoy your echo chamber.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      I unapproved it. Sorry, but no one is going to come on my blog and call me childish names. Gabriel is more than welcome to re-write his comment absent the juvenile moniker. It’s not my job to do that for him.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      However, since it bothers you so much, I have re-approved his comment, with an edit.

  13. It is galling that Mayor Tait continues to take the side of Donna Acevedo and a small vocal group and imply because of their comments that the Anaheim police need an oversight commission – even being quoted yesterday saying that the police have lost the trust of the Latino community. The year long report conducted by the Olin Group speaks volumes to the contrary. Residents, community leaders and parents in the hardest hit economic areas list public safety as their highest priority and in no way disparage the police – they are much more concerned about escalating gang violence and the safety of their communities. Yet the actions of Acevedo and her supporters are preventing the police from protecting their neighborhoods by staging civil unrest every time the police are called to the area. What’s even more galling is the Mayor has these woman as special guests at his events including his launch for reelection – clearly they feel empowered by the office of the mayor and his chief spokesperson, Cynthia Ward who was front and center at the press conference yesterday.

    • Sick of politics

      City employee, it is absolutely appalling that our mayor has sided with the criminal element. A majority of residents back the police and want gang members OUT.

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