Anaheim Riots and Jeffrey-Lynne: Where It All Began

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No, we can't all get along...
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The violence in Anaheim has now entered its fifth day, finally reaching television screens and airwaves around the country last night. But contrary to the emerging storyline, the unrest did not begin with last weekend's fatal shooting of two suspected gang members in separate incidents. As the Weekly's Amber Stephens reported last month, a string of officer-involved shootings earlier this year had already set the stage for the current conflagration.

To truly understand the tension now boiling over between the city's cops and Latino residents, however, you have to go even further back than that, and to a neighborhood, Jeffrey-Lynne, that doesn't exist anymore.

Until it was redeveloped into a less dense neighborhood called Hermosa Village a decade ago, Jeffrey-Lynne was the gang-infested front line of the conflict between the city's cops and low-income Latino residents. Named for two intersecting streets at the heart of the working-class community in question, it was there, in the early 1990s, that a gang unit officer named Steve Nolan grew weary of the routine brutality he witnessed against Latino youths at the hands of fellow cops--punching handcuffed suspects in police cars, bashing them on the head with flashlights after foot-chases. He filed a 1995 whistleblower lawsuit against the city and two years later, won a generous jury award.

Jeffrey-Lynne is also where another police officer, Harald Martin, cut his teeth as a patrolman, and grew frustrated in a different way than Nolan: he decided that all of Anaheim's woes involved illegal immigrants. For years, Martin did his best to worsen the tensions between the city's cops and citizens by agitating for the right of officers to stop and question anyone who looked "illegal," eventually taking credit for getting the INS to begin operating in Anaheim's city jail. In 2002, Martin ended up being fired for insubordination for remarks he made about his superiors, but continued to do damage as a school board member, until losing that job, too.

During the several years I spent covering the Jeffrey Lynne neighborhood, I often interviewed community activists like Josie Montoya, who passed away in March 2002, of the activist group Barrios Unidos, and members of Los Amigos of Orange County, which was made up mostly middle-class, cop-friendly Democrats. One of the weirdest stories I ever wrote was about the fact that the police, who claimed to be working with activists to heal the ongoing tensions, were actually spying on the two groups, often using my own articles as starting points for criminal background checks of citizens.

This only became public because a few well-intentioned cops at the department found the snooping operation stupid and distasteful. It's been ten years since that shameful episode, and since city officials (who as I reported in a July 22, 1999 article ironically titled "Inside Revolutionary Anaheim, first ignored and then worked with affected residents) bulldozed Jeffrey-Lynne. But as this week's events reveal, you can erase a community's name, and pave over the past, yet bad blood lingers on. 

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8 comments
carolynj.castro
carolynj.castro

Anaheim has a long history of discrimination toward the Latino community. My Grandparents believed as stated in other remarks, a time when Anaheim was 90% white, that it was a good place to raise a family. They purchased a home in Downtown Anaheim and were the only Latinos on the block. They raised 10 children and several grandchildren on the 300 block of Philadelphia St. in Anaheim. My Grandfather told me about shopping at the Piggly Wiggly and having to wait outside to get his order because Mexicans were not welcome inside. Mexicans were only admitted to the public swimming pool on Wed. because that was the day the pool was cleaned.

In 1970 something I was about 7 yrs old and used to go 1 block away from my home with my cousins who were about 16 yrs old to play on the playground. See I was the reason (excuse) they were allowed to hang out. I played and my cousins sat on the picnic table talking to friends and having a cigarette, doing nothing but socializing. Often a Anaheim Police officer would round them all up and search and question them, run their names for warrants and over all just harass. If the guys were in a car they would be pulled over and given tickets for bald tires, parking to far from the curb, car to low, after about a year of this continuous harassment. The community began to organize and document the incidents by forming "the mommy patrol" Mothers and community adults would ride along with the boys on a Sat. night armed with notebooks and disposable cameras. When the police pulled the boys over the mommy patrol would politely ask why they were pulled over and document the stop, after several weeks of mommy patrol it was clear we had a couple officers who were behaving badly in our community. The issue was addressed with the police chief and formal complaints were filed. 

The outcome was, complaints and meetings with the chief resulted in out right excuses and blatant lies regarding the validity of the officers actions. If you look and speak to the "Mexicans" who were living in Anaheim from the 50's and beyond it is clear that Anaheim and the Latin community have had a rocky history. Respectfully Submitted by a Life time Mexican resident of Anaheim.

TYREE
TYREE

This is extremely biased and one sided "reporting" as Orange County natives have come to expect from your "weakly". I know many people who lived and continue to live near Jeffrey-Lynn and one day you might tell their story. They include car windows shot out by guns, the thefts and intimidation, overcrowded living conditions and the drugs. We used to walk to Disneyland past that apartment complex but after the gangs starting taking pot shots at passing cars we had to stop.

Not all change is good, and having change forced onto your neighborhood by criminal gang members is not to be defended. Unless, as we have seen, you have a left wing point of view. Then, the criminals become the victims and the citizens become oppressors for wanting the law enforced.

Jeffery-Lynn was not "bulldozed". That is another blatant lie in an extremely biased article.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

Many, if not most, of Anaheim's woes, are due to mass immigration -- legal and illegal. These latest happenings just reinforce that fact -- there were no riots when Anaheim was 90% white. In fact, 'floodplain' OC was a place where many whites moved to flee the urban decay and riots of the 1960s.

beverlycaterers
beverlycaterers

 @Mitchell_Young  I agree! Anaheim was great when it was 90% WHITE!

And I am not white but Native American! The United States was a dream to live in  when it was 90% white. At least we could walk the streets at night.

Would any of us do that today! As for nschou1

How would you know what it was like? Are you a unwanted new comer stuck in today's America?

nschou1
nschou1 moderator editor

Thanks for the history lesson, Mitch. Sorry you're stuck in the wrong century. Not sorry for you, but for us, though, hahaha...

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