33 arrested in Anaheim gang crackdown
Manuel Diaz, a 25-year-old man who was shot by police and whose image has been plastered on protest signs, was identified as a member of Eastside Anaheim and someone who would have been targeted during the sweep, authorities said.
Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said gangs such as Eastside Anaheim thrive off instilling fear of police in community members.
"If criminals realize residents are afraid of us, they exploit that," Welter said.
Anaheim has seen a significant increase in both violent crime and officer-involved shootings this year, which police have attributed to gang activity. Welter hopes the raid will cut into the violence and is a first step in "recovery" for some of Anaheim's most troubled neighborhoods.
Because of the protests and unrest in the city, authorities considered delaying the operation, but in the end they decided to carry it out.
"We can't wait until another person gets shot," Welter said.
Hilda Vera said she was startled when police burst through her front door just after 6 a.m. with weapons drawn. She said police ransacked her room and handcuffed her and her husband's mother. The two women and Vera's 2-year-old son were alone at the time, the woman said.
Villegas' stepfather, Ernie Lievanos, 47, was trying to get answers as to why his stepson was arrested, but he was having no luck.
"As far as I know, he's not a gang member," Lievanos said. "He lives here. He has a son. He works every day. He's into motocross. He doesn't go out gang-banging. He might know some gang-bangers, but that's no reason to knock down my door."
source: LA Times