Protests erupt in Anaheim over dispute between LAPD officer and teens

Patrick Inman, Staff Writer

Hundreds of protesters marched to the home of a Los Angeles Police officer after a video surfaced of the off-duty cop firing a gun during a fight with a 13-year-old that escalated after the teenager and friends walked across the officer’s lawn.

The video has been shared online through several outlets and is currently the number one trending news story on Twitter right now.

In the video, it appears to show the officer grasping onto the 13-year-old boy while being harassed by the teen’s friends. The altercation continued until the cop pulled out his weapon and fired it. Unfortunately, the video does not present how the confrontation began, so there is no video evidence of the cause of violence.

As seen in the video, the teenager was not hit by gunfire. However, his grandmother, Jennifer Dorscht, informed NBC News he sustained “a lot of bruises” during the altercation on Tuesday. No one else was injured.

The Anaheim Police have feverishly worked to prevent conflicts at the protests having arrested twenty-four protesters due to acts of vandalism near the policeman’s property. In addition to the around-the-clock work the officers are putting in, they have set up a hotline seeking any type of help from the public that would aid in their investigation as to how, and why the incident occurred.

Anaheim mayor Tom Tait issued a statement in regards to the issue, “Anaheim is committed to a full and impartial investigation. Our city will move forward without delay.” All hands are on deck in Anaheim.

In addition to the efforts by the Anaheim Police, the LAPD launched an internal investigation into the officer’s actions. They currently believe the confrontation began due to ongoing issues with juveniles walking across the officer’s property.

According to an LAPD statement, the teenager is “alleged to have threatened to shoot the off-duty officer, at which time the officer attempted to detain the male, until local Anaheim officers arrived. This led to a physical confrontation between the off-duty officer and several other juveniles.”

The LAPD has not identified the officer, who is currently on administrative leave. The 13-year-old male was arrested and eventually released after being charged with criminal threats and battery. A 15-year-old friend who faced the same chargers was also released to his parents.

A policy advocate at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Jennifer Rojas, stated in an interview to NBC Los Angeles that the entire organization demanded “a full explanation of why, in an altercation between the police officer and youths, the youths were arrested but not the officer who fired his gun.”

Rojas continued, “An officer, even off duty, has an obligation to follow the law and protect public safety, rather than threaten it. The LAPD officer’s actions on the video are grossly irresponsible.”

The public outrage in Anaheim and the surrounding areas has made the LAPD increasingly worrisome as peaceful protests have a chance of becoming more violent by the hour.

Protests have not slowed down since the incident.