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The Forgotten History of Latino Riots

Why does civil unrest in Latino communities often go unrecorded?
 Chicago police subdue a protester after a demonstration for Puerto Rican independence in June 1977.
Chicago police subdue a protester after a demonstration for Puerto Rican independence in June 1977. AP Photo

On July 21, 2012, a police officer in Anaheim, California, shot a Latino man as he tried to flee through an apartment complex parking lot. Manuel Diaz was unarmed and 25; he was pronounced dead at the hospital three hours after he was shot.

His death set something off in the midsized city south of Los Angeles, the home of Disneyland but also a place of increasing racial and class tensions. On the day of Diaz’s death, protesters gathered at the crime scene and allegedly threw objects at police, who responded by firing non-lethal projectiles into the crowd; the next day, police shot and killed another Latino man, Joel Acevedo, spurring escalating protests and unrest in front of City Hall. More than 20 businesses were damaged, while a Disneyland fireworks show exploded above the heads of protestors a few blocks away.