Hundreds of people gathered in Anaheim, California on Wednesday night to protest the physical altercation between a teenage boy and an off-duty LAPD officer, during which the officer fired his weapon, KTLA reported. Protesters said they hoped taking to the streets would encourage the DA to file charges against the officer.
In addition, KTLA noted that some people gathered around the officer’s Anaheim home, breaking windows at the house and shattering car windows. Those actions led to over a dozen arrests.
This response was a result of a released video showing an unnamed off-duty white police officer fighting with a 13-year-old boy and shooting into the crowd on Tuesday. The video shows the officer pulling the hoodie of the teenager, who had issues with that fact the officer allegedly yelled at a girl for walking on his lawn.
“I said, ‘Hey, that’s not how you treat a lady,’” the 13-year-old boy told KTLA. “And then he came at me. … He hit me. I ran to the street to run away from him, and he got me. He tried to trip me and then he kicked me in my testicles.”
During the scuffle, a few more teens tried to separate the two and ended up striking the officer in the head. The boy again said he told the officer he was going to “sue him,” not “shoot” him.
After the video was posted on YouTube, Anaheim police said on Wednesday that the boy threatened to shoot the officer, an accusation that the video disputes.
Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt, but ironically the 13-year-old boy and another 15-year-old boy were taken into custody. What was the officer’s punishment? Just administrative leave pending an investigation, a decision that local police defend, Fox 11 reported.
“There was insufficient evidence at the time to prove the officer’s actions rose to the level of a criminal act,” Anaheim police Chief Raul Quezada told reporters. He also noted that the officer did not aim his weapon at anyone, but just fired at the ground.
“[However], I personally wish the officer would have awaited our arrival before taking action,” he added.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, also defended the off-duty officer:
“The publicly available cell phone video shows that our officer was physically assaulted by multiple individuals and the officer sustained injuries. There is no question, however, that when a police officer is attacked, they have a right and a duty to protect themselves, no matter the age of the offender.”