ANAHEIM, Calif. – There was a melee in Anaheim a day after an off-duty LAPD officer discharged his weapon trying to detain a juvenile. Dozens of arrests were made as protests erupted Wednesday night since a video surfaced showing an off-duty LAPD police officer firing his weapon during a scuffle with a large group of teens.
“Preliminary arrest numbers indicate approximately 24 arrests as a result of the protest at Euclid and Palais,” according to Anaheim PIO, Sgt. Daron Wyatt. “Initial reports are 10 male adults, 8 female adults, 3 male juveniles, and 3 female juveniles. All are misdemeanor charges for variations of failure to disperse, resisting arrest, and battery on a peace officer.”
“I will not have names and exact charges before mid-morning,” Sgt. Wyatt told LET. “But will release that information once compiled.”
There are also reports of several residence and vehicle windows being broken and other acts of vandalism. Damage estimates are not available at this time.
The triggering event to the protests occurred Tuesday. Anaheim Police Department issued the following statement in regard to the incident:
Yesterday afternoon around 2:40 pm, an off-duty LAPD officer was involved in a confrontation in front of his residence with several juveniles. The confrontation began over ongoing issues with juveniles walking across the officer’s property. During the confrontation, a 13-year-old male is alleged to have threatened to shoot the off-duty officer, at which time the officer attempted to detain the male until APD arrived. This led to a physical confrontation between the off-duty officer and several other juveniles. During the confrontation the officer discharged his firearm one time. The circumstances surrounding the discharge of the firearm are being investigated by the APD Homicide Detail. The 13-year-old male was booked at Orange County Juvenile Hall for criminal threats and battery. A 15-year-old male was arrested for assault and battery and was released to his parents.
The case will be presented to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office when it is completed. The names of the involved parties are not being released at this time.
The Los Angeles Police Department is conducting its own internal investigation into the actions of the officer. For further information regarding LAPD’s investigation, contact Captain Andy Neiman at 213-486-5910.
The video shows the off-duty officer holding the juvenile, while a group of kids surround him. About two minutes into the video a group of males muster the courage to try to free the juvenile from the grasp of the off-duty officer. One actually takes a run at the officer and lowers his shoulder into him, but the off-duty officer continued to hold the detained teen. It was at this time the officer pulled his firearm from his waistband and fired one round. Although no one is calling it a warning shot, that is what it appeared to be.
YouTube video. WARNING: Graphic language.
Wyatt said that the video “picks up several houses down from where the initial contact was made.” He indicated the officer in the video had been dealing with teens walking across his lawn for months.
“Yesterday, he sees the kids walking on the lawn and he says, ‘Hey, guys, please walk on the sidewalk,’” Wyatt told LET. He said that prompted a chorus of epithets from some of the teens.
Protesters at officer’s home
Protesters demonstrated outside the officer’s home in Anaheim before taking to the streets, officials said. The rally shut down a major intersection in the city. Anaheim police issued a tactical alert and said they were prepared to make arrests, reported KTTV.
LAPD said it is investigating the incident. The officer was placed on administrative leave.
Family disputes officer’s account
A dispute has now ensued over what the teen actually said to the officer on the video. Wyatt said the officer moved to detain the teen because he threatened to shoot the officer.
The mother of the 13-year-old who was detained denied that her son did anything wrong. But then again, she wasn’t there.
“How is a parent supposed to react? The only way we can react. We feel powerless at the moment. We’re in disbelief. We’re angry. We’re hurt. We’re sad,” the mother told KTTV.
“My son clearly states ‘I never said that.’ My son said, ‘I’m going to sue you for hitting me. I’m going SUE you. S-U-E! I’m going to sue you.’”
The 13-year-old was facing charges for assault and battery and criminal threats. A 15-year-old was also facing assault and battery charges in the incident.
“One of those juveniles pushed the off-duty officer. He had a hold of the 13-year-old at the time. Both fell to the ground and numerous individuals began surrounding the off-duty officer,” Wyatt said.
“All the information we have is that the round was not aimed at any of the individuals and was more down towards the ground,” he added.
“The complete investigation will be reviewed by the chief of police and the Board of Police Commissioners to determine whether the use of deadly force complied with LAPD’s policies and procedures,” Anaheim police said in a statement.
Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada will be holding a news conference today at 1 pm (PST) at the Anaheim Police Department, Sgt. Wyatt told LET.