As OC Weekly reported on Saturday night, chaos ensued in Anaheim when police fired military grade less-than-lethal weapons at residents when they gathered demanding answers after an officer-involved shooting occured. CBS News video shows the attacks and police unleashing a K-9 dog in front of a group of residents, including women and children.
The incident has received nationwide coverage, only further pushed into the spotlight when another man was shot fatally by Anaheim Police on Sunday night. Sgt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department confirmed the weapons used on Anaheim residents on Saturday night were less-than-lethal beanbag rounds and pepperball guns.
Police have told the media the weapons were deployed because residents were throwing bottles at police. So far, no video footage has surfaced of bottle throwing. A bystander told OC Weekly "a few water bottles were tossed in the street" as residents angrily demanded answers from authorities about why Diaz was shot dead, and riot police rushed in after and "just started shooting everyone."
While over a dozen residents were hit by the beanbag rounds, five children OC Weekly spoke to were grazed by the shots. One minor said she was hit by a teargas bullet in her mouth. Dunn said it was unclear why these weapons were used when there were children present.
"I don't have an answer for that," Dunn told OC Weekly on Sunday night. "If children were hit, they have not made their presence known to us."
Residents have reported to OC Weekly when police fired the weapons, they were told "Go home!" with no dispersal warning was given beforehand. When asked why they were told to go home when they were standing in front of their homes, Dunn said perhaps it was because officers believed the residents would be safer inside.
The use of such weapons in the incident, along with the increase of officer-involved shootings in the city, has raised the issue of militarization of local police forces by media outlets such as RT America. Over the years, there has been widespread concern that misuse of these weapons could prove to be fatal.
Here is a closer look at the military grade weapons used on Saturday night.
Anaheim resident holding up a beanbag casing
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a 12-gauge Super Sock bean bag round consists of a cotton drag-stabilized Super Sock(TM) containing approximately 0.4 ounces of lead shot. The munition is fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, effective at distances of up to 30 meters. The Super Sock projectile is in its deployed state immediately after exiting the weapon barrel.
Officers are trained to shoot beanbag rounds from a distance, as a close-range shot could result in a major injury or death. An on-line store selling these rounds to civilians advises that shots to the head, neck, spine, thorax or heart can result in fatal or serious injury.
Screenshot of report by U.S. Department of Justice
Another less-than-lethal weapon used was the Pepperball gun, which is an automatic and semiautomatic rifle that shoots 3-gram marble-sized balls that explode into a cloud of hot pepper powder on impact. The guns can launch up to four projectiles with 20 foot-pounds of force. It is supposed to be used on potentially dangerous suspects by law enforcement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Dept. of Justice wrote in their report, "while less-lethal weapons are less likely to cause serious injury or death than firearms, significant injuries and fatalities can result from their use." No numbers were available on the fatalities of beanbag rounds and pepperball guns within the federal justice system.
Here is a video shot by Naui Huitzilopochtliof children in the neighborhood talking about the events on Saturday night, with over 7,000 views so far.