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Friday, May. 10, 2002 at 10:22 AM
Placentia residents protest police brutality and racial profiling.
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Placentia residents and community activists have held three protests against the Placentia police department's corrupt treatment of people of color in the Orange County city. The protests began after police violently attacked, pepper sprayed and arrested residents at a community gathering last month.
Police came to break up the gathering of community activists early in the evening. Most of the people at the gathering were people of color and youth activists. The police demanded everyone leave, they pepper sprayed several youth, and one was even arrested for trying to go to his car and leave as the police told them to do. His only charge was "resisting arrest," but he was never given a charge for what he was initially supposedly being arrested for in the first place. The police report said the community gathering was a group of "gang members."
At the most recent protest, about 50 activists held signs and chanted in front of the police department and city hall for two hours, then about 20 people, including several victims of police brutality, spoke at the city council meeting about ongoing problems with the Placentia police. A Chino Hills man who was driving home from work stopped at the protest and waited five hours to speak to in support of protesters at the City Council meeting about his negative experience with Placentia police after he had been in an accident and was inaccurately found to be at fault.
The activists had a list of five demands:
1) That the Placentia police investigate fully every complaint filed against them.
2) That the Placentia police make public every six months all reports of police misconduct.
3) That police chief Russell Rice meet with victims of police misconduct to work on resolving the problem.
4) That the police end racial profiling.
5) That the city set up a civilian police review board to keep the out of control Placentia police in check.
After activists took up more than an hour of the public comment section telling about their negative experiences with Placentia police, Placentia Mayor Chris Lowe met one of the protesters' demands and had activists set up a meeting with police chief Russell Rice, who was present at the meeting.
Earlier in the evening, police chief Rice accepted a commendation from the city council for National Police Week. As he spoke, activists throughout the audience held up signs condemning police misconduct.
Activists vowed they would keep up the protests and refuse to go away until all problems between police and Placentia residents are resolved.
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