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The following is a response to Colorlines’ article “Anaheim Police Shooting Survivor: Cops ‘Shot and Shot Again’.

The problem with police is not limited to just black people. The Latino and Chicano communities have had to deal with intense and brutal police tactics in their neighborhoods. Such is the case of Geraldo Pineda in Anaheim, California who was shot a few times by plain-clothes cops from an anti-gang unit. Thankfully, he survived, but there is no doubt that this shooting left not just physical wounds but also emotional ones.

Fox News reports:

On a Saturday night in late February, Gerardo Pineda stood on West Northgate Lane in Anaheim, where he says he was waiting to meet friends.

Then, a group of plain-clothes officers from the Anaheim Police Department’s anti-gang unit emerged from an unmarked van behind him, ready to arrest him, he says.

Pineda, 19, the only police shooting victim of Anaheim, Calif., who survived this year, then took off running. He ran almost a mile until he turned a corner, then police began shooting, firing at least three rounds, Pineda says.  

“I’m running over a fence and they shot again and again…and it hit me in the stomach,” says Pineda, who is currently out on bail. “I told them, ‘Hey, I got shot. You hit me. I’m dying.’”

Pineda’s shooting incident is but one of a string of police shootings that have shook the Latino community so far this year:

Last week’s shooting of Manuel Diaz sparked nine straight days of protests and riots in the city. Diaz, 25, was shot while running away from authorities on July 21. He was unarmed.

Tensions escalated when officers opened fire on Joel Acevedo just a day later. Acevedo, who police said was a documented gang member, was fatally shot after he fired his gun while trying to run away.

Federal authorities are now investigating all six shootings.

It’s not hard to relate. Black communities all over the nation have had to deal with police brutality and homicide that has been occurring excessively within the last few years. Latinos (males in particular) are usually suspected of being violent, drug dealing gang members or undocumented immigrants. Like their black counterparts, they are subject to stop-and-frisk policies more often than whites. And many of them have a reasonable distrust of police.

This is the core of the problem between police involvement and treatment in disenfranchised neighborhoods of color. Even though some poor communities are stricken with violent drug and gang activity, cops sometimes add more violence and fear to the atmosphere. The people in these communities do not trust cops in their neighborhoods for fearing their family members will end up unjustly arrested, assaulted or murdered.

The community is frustrated as they see no reason to reach out to cops whenever a crime goes down. They have no one to really turn to other than other members of the community. They suspect the police will not only make matters worse – for innocent victims, but they also fear they will not take them seriously enough to consider the crime in those areas as a “police matter” leaving the victims vulnerable.

This is the core for the reason behind the “Stop Snitching” mantra in poor streets of color. It’s not because the people don’t want justice. It’s because they fear for their lives. And given the kind of treatment they’re getting from the law, why should they turn to the “city’s finest” if they will likely screw things up?

This is what poor black and brown communities have to face. Pineda is one example of how violent the police can get. He is lucky to survive, but there will be more victims after him. This is a harsh reality that whether they are gangsters, so-called “illegal” or innocent citizens, there are bullets with their names on them in some poor Latino communities, and some of them will come from the guns of cops.