Hundreds Protest After Off-Duty Officer Fires Gun During Confrontation with Teens Near Home
Authorities are investigating an incident captured on video in which an off-duty Los Angeles Police Officer fired a gun during a confrontation with teenagers outside his Anaheim home, leading to the arrest of two teens but not the officer.
Sgt. Damon Wyatt of the Anaheim Police Department told CBS 8 that the confrontation was touched off when the unidentified officer told teens that they couldn’t walk across his lawn, which the officer alleged happened frequently despite his objections.
“Yesterday, he sees the kids walking on the lawn and he says, ‘Hey, guys, please walk on the sidewalk,'” Wyatt said, adding that the teens allegedly did not immediately obey.
That much seems to be uncontested, but both sides disagree about what happened next.
In cell phone video of the incident, the officer, in street clothes, is seen with his hands on a boy who says he is 13 years old. The 13-year-old was later detained after the officer alleged the boy threatened to “shoot” him, but on the video, the boy insists he had threatened to “sue” the officer.
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As the confrontation grows more physical, a 15-year-old rushes towards the officer and knocks him to the ground. As onlookers begin to converge on the scene, the officer reaches into his waistband and pulls out a gun. While some of the onlookers back up, a shot rings out. No one is hurt by the gunshot. Police soon arrive on the scene.
Both teens were taken into custody. The 13-year-old was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats. The 15-year-old was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor battery and assault. The teens have been released to their parents.
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Anaheim Police released a statement on Facebook, saying that they were “investigating the criminal culpability” of all parties involved, but saying “the videos posted online do not depict the entire event.”
A spokesperson with the LAPD confirms to PEOPLE that their department is conducting an internal investigation on the incident.
On Wednesday night, more than 300 protestors took to the streets of Anaheim to protest the incident. According to reporters on the scene, riot police stood on the property to protect the officer’s home.
The LAPD has assigned the officer to desk duty — a routine response to an officer-involved shooting.
Any findings from the investigations by the LAPD and the Anaheim Police Department will be forwarded to the Orange County District Attorney’s office for further action.