- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Federal officials will review two deadly police shootings that sparked a fourth day of violent protests that left downtown business heaped with shattered glass and jails full of demonstrators.

Mayor Tom Tait said Wednesday that the U.S. attorney’s office has agreed to review the weekend killings and he will meet Friday with members of that office and the FBI.

“We will have a clear and complete understanding of these incidents” followed by a public dialogue on what actions should be taken, Tait said at a news conference.

The shootings and resulting demonstrations marred the image of the Orange County city, which is home to Disneyland and the Angels baseball team but also has neighborhoods teeming with gritty apartments.

On Tuesday night as many as 1,000 surged through downtown, smashing windows and vandalizing 20 businesses, setting trash fires, damaging City Hall and the police headquarters and hurling rocks and bottles at patrol cars and police in riot gear, authorities said.

The violence was finally quelled at around 2 a.m., some seven hours after it began, police said.

Twenty-four people, including four minors, were arrested on suspicion of crimes ranging from failure to disperse to assault with a deadly weapon, Police Chief John Welter said at a news conference.

Video showed knots of young men and women looting a T-shirt store.

Some 300 police from Anaheim and surrounding communities were called in and riot-clad officers used batons, pepper balls and beanbag rounds.

At least six people were injured, including a police officer who was struck on the arm with a brick, a protester who was hit in the chest by a pepper ball, and three reporters who were struck by rocks and a beanbag round, police and witnesses said.

None was immediately hospitalized.

Police will examine videos of the protests to identify violent protesters and there could be further arrests, Welter said.

He and Tait said peaceful demonstrations will be permitted but they promised to crack down on any further violence.

“Vandalism, arson and other forms of violent protest will simply not be tolerated in our city,” Tait said. “We don’t expect last night’s situation to be repeated but if it should be, the police response will be the same: swift and appropriate.”

The violence erupted from a peaceful rally after demonstrators unable to get into a packed City Hall meeting blocked a nearby intersection. After several hours, police declared an unlawful assembly and moved in, Welter said.

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