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by Abraham Appel
Monday, Oct. 24, 2005 at 3:04 PM
firstname.lastname@example.org po box 5741 Huntington beach CA 92646
A review of Santa Ana's anti-police abuse march and community response.
Police brutality in Santa Ana protested
Last year Santa Ana California’s anti-police brutality rally ended in four arrests, at least one major injury and compounded bitterness in the community. Local activists returned this year in a statement of defiance and resistance to the Local police department.
The march coincided with what is now a decade long tradition of anti-police brutality protests in Los Angeles and a growing number of cities across the country.
Approximately 30 police were deployed throughout the protest route. Police, though keeping their distance, would drive by and video record the protesters. Other officers could be seen parked in Shopping malls in neighborhood streets watching from a distance. And at the marches end the marchers were greeted by riot police and police on horses in riot gear. But no arrests were made.
After last years reported violent and possibly unreasonable arrests; the distance of the police was taken by some protesters as a level of respect after a year of confrontations with the police and city officials over last years violent and tense conclusion of the October 22 anti-police brutality march.
Yesterday’s protest could be seen from many different angles. Some points of views could be seen as unflattering to the marchers. Some even within the protest criticized the lack of preparation and what appeared to be poor planning. Others criticized how no one from the major media was present, and others criticized how the March route went from a very busy street and detoured into neighborhoods and ended in front of the police station where the protesters were secluded.
But even though there were criticisms of the march the true reality of the marches complaints resonated with the community. One would have been surprised by the number of cars that honked and waved to the protestors. Some from the community who did not know of the march joined from their houses to show solidarity with the marchers.
Tellingly one family drove by and honked and waved to the protestors, as they drove by and as I saw a “support our troops” sticker it was clear how the subject of police brutality is felt by the whole community.
“The Police brutality is really bad (out here), especially how they mess with the Mexicans more and even shoot people and get away with it. The community gives us positive feed back because of how the Mexicans do get harassed more, and many in the community are scared of the cops ” Naui Huitzilopochtli the march’s organizer said.
“(Police brutality) is really irritating, especially when you are part of a minority…a lot of cops; even if they speak Spanish won’t speak it to you. I think it is a strategy of intimidation. If you don’t speak English well it is really intimidating” said another March organizer who would only give her name as Talli
One passer-by who said she was ecstatic to see the protestors, tried to make the community’s feelings simple” All we really ask for is communication, if your going to come and arrest us just let us speak, and don’t treat us worse for speaking Spanish- Santa Ana is 80 percent Mexican.
“(The police) think they are more powerful, But I came out here to say that were all equal” said Bernice Sable who joined the march in solidarity on her way to run errands for her family.
Mo Nishida who has gone to the anti-police brutality march in LA for close to a decade said “it is not just the physical abuses that the protest seeks to change, It’s the culture of prejudice that were trying to change because our children grow up feeling like something is wrong with them when they get profiled or when they feel there is a problem with the police, because this culture is a colonizing culture even in it’s education of our children.
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