Anaheim in Wonderland: Explain Again How The Police Are To Blame?

Community policing memeI was just reading this Voice of OC article, “Neighborhood in Anaheim Turns on Police” and found this passage extraordinary:

“In the second incident early Sunday morning, officers arrived at the neighborhood with guns drawn because of a report that an armed gang member had invaded a resident’s home, according to Dunn.

Hostile residents again challenged police officers, he said.”

Let me get this straight: a West Guinida Lane man calls the police, reports an armed gang member has entered his home looking for someone, and asks for help. The police arrive to assist this man – and they’re the ones getting harassed!

It’s helpful to remember the one of the very fundamental reasons we form governments is to protect our lives and liberty from criminals. It’s there in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”

I called Sgt. Robert Dunn, the Anaheim Police Department’s public information officer and asked for more detail on this incident. Sgt. Dunn told me a male called the police to report that someone he identified as a gang member had entered his home, armed and looking for someone.

I asked what time on Sunday morning the call came in. 4:30 a.m., Sgt. Dunn told me.

Did the crowd form after the arrival of the police. No, replied Sgt. Dunn – the crowd was there at the scene when the police arrived. The intruder had left by tat time.

So, shortly after 4:30 in the AM on Guinida Lane, there was an angry waiting for the police – who were there to secure an individual right to be safe in his own domicile. [And why is there a crowd waiting to assemble in the pre-dawn hours?]

According to Sgt. Dunn, this has become common in that neighborhood. He mentioned a recent incident: a pursuit that ended with the police securing the vehicle, in which a firearm was found. As police secured the crime scene, someone in a car with an “FTP: Film the Police” sticker circled the area, yelling obscenities and calling the officers murderers.

I have to wonder: why is it that the discussion of crime and policing in Anaheim is framed by the belief that it is the police who need to do more? That it is the police who need to improve their community outreach and be laced under closer supervision?

Does anyone think jeering and harassing police officers coming to the aid of a crime victim is an example of good citizenship? How does that help the neighbor dealing with an armed intruder in his home? Does such behavior make the neighborhood more or less safe? What element is encouraged by roving bands harassing police: the law-abiding or the law-breaking? It’s an indication of how topsy-turvy the discussion as become that few — least of all the media — are asking these questions.

The people in these Ustream videos jeer and pelt the police and complain about all the cops who roll up – ignoring the fact that the additional police arrive because of these crowds that spring up any time police respond to a cal for service (and it is useful to remember that police are arriving on the scene because someone in the neighborhood has called for help).


  1. Sick of politics

    This is beyond disturbing. The residents call the cops but Harass them when they get there. They complain about living in fear yet protect and give more credence to the gangsters that prey on their neighborhood. Unreal.

  2. It appears to me the call for help may have been a set-up to get police into that area, known for gangs and unrest..A group had assembled, awaiting police!! Is this Anaheim, Ca. or Tijuana, Mexico? I fear for the officers safety in our city.

  3. So in summary what you are implying with your commentary Mr. Cunningham is that all these Hispanic people (including myself) are lying about being victims of police abuse and John Welter / Raul Quezada / Robert Dunn are telling the whole truth – correct?


    Really James? So were you lying when you said this? Or are you lying now? You got tens of thousands of dollars in a settlement from APD, for what sure looks like serious charges against them. Up until that point, as seen in this video, you accused them with rape, assault, all kinds of charges against you and your friends. Immediately following that settlement, you became the biggest defender of cops in all of Anaheim. I checked the videos, your public comments shift right after you got the check.

  5. Ah – okay, so that’s what happened late that night, a few hours after angry cops kicked over all the candles and statues in Joel’s memorial, and stole pictures and photos from it – shortly after giving Donna a nuisance traffic stop (and then getting pelted by little boys with eggs.) Makes sense that residents would be angry and on edge when they showed up again in the wee hours, whether that was a justified call or not. Doesn’t it?

    I’m assuming you all watched this? (with the poignant call from the little girl for the police to “please not come back here”)

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Vern, how does it make sense that there is a crowd of people ready and waiting for the police at 4:30 in the morning? Who is hanging around any neighborhood at 4:30 in the morning?

      You’re attempt to minimize harassing the police by claiming it was only “little boys” throwing objects at them, only makes it worse. It doesn’t do those children any good to excuse or rationalize that behavior. That’s called bad parenting. If I caught one of my kids throwing eggs at the police, I wouldn’t excuse it on the grounds they were just acting out their desire for social justice. Encouraging kids to attack the police, or excusing such behavior, encourages disrespect for the law and lawful authority – and I think even you would agree that does children a disservice and increases the chances they will make self-destructive choices down the line.

      As for this video, I had not watched it until now. Although I think the guy interviewing them does so in a very leading fashion, The girls are fairly convincing when talking about what they saw, although some of what they saw sounds coached or mimicry of what they’ve heard adults saying. If what they say is true, then the officer who did that ought to receive an appropriate punishment.

      It should be noted, Vern, that the girl claimed it was one policeman who vandalized the memorial, not “angry cops” plural – as you claim.

      It should also be noted that the APD has, from the start, asked witnesses to come forward ad file reports on what they saw.

  6. ReasonableGuy2

    I hope the police go into these neighborhoods with force and clean them up. We need to make sure law abiding families in all neighborhoods of our city are protected. Drug dealers, gang members and their families are wrong if they think by blaming the Police we will stand by and allow them to control our city streets and put families in fear. It time to end there little “political tantrum” and go in with force.

  7. Sick of politics

    It is sad that these kids are taught by their parents to hate the police and that throwing eggs at them is acceptable. Is it any wonder that they run from police and show the law no respect?
    Their actions do nothing productive to solve the problems they complain about. They only exasperate them. Maybe next time we see Vern we should throw eggs at him. Apparently that’s the mature, adult and responsible thing for a society to do. And we wonder why our city is heading in the wrong direction. It’s parents teaching their kids to behave this way and people like Vern condoning it.

  8. Bottom line: There is a community in Anaheim being told attacking the police is the only means of redressing their grievances. I would certainly like to know how ANYONE that reads this blog can justify that.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      That is an excellent point, and one that ought to be addressed by Vern Nelson and others excusing and explaining away this kind of behavior.

  9. The obsession with Hispanic mother’s here is a bit much – I’m trying to refrain from using words like misogyny but it’s getting difficult. Hispanic mother’s are God-fearing Catholic women. There are no Hispanic mother’s teaching their children to throw eggs at the cops. If one of their children has strayed from a law abiding path, you can’t just assume that the parent is at fault much less encouraged it. What happened to the concept that everyone is ultimately responsible for the decisions that they make?

    So there is an obsession with egg throwing Where is the outrage that a Catholic memorial sight was desecrated culminating in the head of Christ himself not being spared? At one point are you going to realize that some member’s of your law enforcement community are one taco short of a combination plate?

    What happened at that memorial sight is actually really creepy considering the history of the city of Anaheim and the persecution of it’s white German Catholic population in the 1920’ the KKK. Ironically, that fine moment in Anaheim history culminated with almost the entire Anaheim city council / Anaheim PD being fired.

    And what about the testimony of these children? Oh wait a minute … they were coached. Regular “children of the maize” huh?

    • Matthew Cunningham


      1) Why are you injecting race into this discussion?

      2) The statuette to which you refer – with the head broken off — was St. Jude, not Jesus.

      • 1) My use of the terms “1920’s”, “white” and :”Hispanic” were meant to illustrate the timeless and multicultural nature of your police department’s abusiveness.

        2) As the 1977 Our Lady of Pompeii Church altar-boy-of-the-year (located in the “little Italy” section of Manhattan) who then went on to attend the same private Manhattan Jesuit High School (Xavier) as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, I stand humbly corrected on the statuette matter.

        Side note: my Hispanic mom was partial to St. Martin de Porres and St. Francis of Assisi. And that High School … it now costs over $50,000 to attend. That’s why I’m so incredibly angry with your law enforcement community; the abusiveness wasn’t just an affront to me, it was an absolute slap in the face to my parents.

    • German Santos… read the posts. The ONLY person trying to bring race to the discussion is you. What’s with that? Please stop trying to invent an issue.

  10. Gustavo Arellano

    [blah, blah, petty childishness, blah, blah]

  11. It is wrong for kids, or anyone else, to throw anything at Police just as it is wrong to throw anything at any other human being. There is a better way to resolve this. I would say simply film the entire exchange, holding both sides accountable (since Police don’t seem to be turning on the expensive DARs we bought them) but then you object to video cameras too. We need to find something that gets to the bottom of he said she said-and by the way, in all of these accounts of the public throwing rocks and bottles at cops I have not yet seen a single piece of film reflecting that. Cops carry cell phones with video cams, where are the youtube shots of Anna Drive residents pelting Police with anything in justification for firing on civilians? It goes both ways.

    However, there is a broad assumption that only gang members get shot, only those who are doing something wrong run from cops, and bad parents raise bad kids. We all know parents who raised kids we just shake our heads at. (bad people raising great kids and vice versa) no we should not abdicate our role as parents to pure chance, but we also know dumb luck often plays into it. Ask Senator Lou Correa about running from the cops as a kid in Anaheim, he tells the story often. When you grow up seeing the extreme disrespect which SOME (not all) cops treat everyone in your neighborhood regardless of gang affiliation, when you grow up seeing the disrespect with which they treat the bodies of the dead, and when you grow up knowing that even if you keep your nose clean they can still put you on a list of those associating with known gang members-because you played basketball with the next door neighbor you have known since kindergarten, not because you knocked over a liquor store with him, yes, you run when the cops come looking for you.

    The attitude that if you are not guilty you have no reason to fear the Police is as outdated as proving you are not a witch. Anyone for a dunking?

    The Police know that their behavior is escalating the tension, they have been told again and again about officers (again not all, but a few) being disrespectful to residents with no gang ties, no criminal records, who merely are unfortunate enough to live in the only neighborhood they can afford. In any other department in public service with that many complaints employees would be fired, or transferred, but because these guys wear a badge we assume that they can do no wrong and we label those who complain as trouble makers.

    Get a clue. This is happening in Anaheim, and it is terrifying.

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