An off-duty Los Angeles police officer has been captured on cellphone video discharging his gun during a physical altercation with a 13-year-old boy.
According to KTLA, the disturbing incident occurred Tuesday afternoon close to Loara High School in Anaheim, Calif. Anaheim police said in an updated statement Wednesday that the confrontation began as a result of “ongoing issues with juveniles walking across the officer’s property.”
Police say the 13-year-old “is alleged to have threatened to shoot the off-duty officer,” although in the video the boy can be heard denying that claim.
Luckily, no one was hit by the gunfire. However, the officer was not arrested, and instead, the 13-year-old and another 15-year-old boy were taken into custody. The officer has been placed on administrative leave, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The incident has left the family of the 13-year-old rattled. The boy’s mother did not want to be identified but told KTLA after visiting her son at the Theo Lacy detention facility that she was told the Orange County District Attorney’s Office had rejected the charges.
The district attorney’s office did not confirm if charges were, in fact, rejected.
“I still fear for our lives, for him living right down the street from us,” the mother said. “Him being an officer.”
Anaheim police said that the LAPD is conducting a “concurrent/administrative investigation” and that investigators from the L.A. Office of the Inspector General will also be reviewing video of the incident that has been circulated online.
In the video, the teen can be heard saying that the officer got upset with a girl who was walking on his lawn and that the teen was only coming to the girl’s defense. The boy and the off-duty officer can be seen struggling on the sidewalk of the residential area, with the officer dragging the teen forward by his collar at one point.
Several other individuals, mostly teens, surround the pair, many of them pleading with the officer, “Let him go.”
“He tried to hit me in my nuts. That’s like a little pussy move, punch a kid in the nuts,” the teen can be heard saying.
“You tackled me first. I didn’t do anything to hurt you. All I said was ‘Respect the girl,’ because you said, ‘Get out of my property,’” the teen adds.
The cop accuses the teen of saying that he was going to shoot him, which the teen quickly denies: “I didn’t say that. Why you lying? I said, ‘I’m going to sue you.’”
After a brief back-and-forth, another teen appears to attempt to separate the struggling pair. However, another boy with a red backpack runs up on the trio and pushes the officer into and over a low hedge. The other boy who tried to separate the officer and the 13-year-old then appears to hit the officer.
It is at that point that the officer, with one hand still on the 13-year-old, reaches into his waistband and pulls out a gun.
A single gunshot is heard. Several of the other teens take off running.
In the end, the 13-year-old was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats and battery, while the 15-year-old was detained on suspicion of assault and battery.
According to Reuters, the incident led to protests Wednesday night, with demonstrators calling for the officer to be arrested. The newswire notes that some two dozen of the 300 protesters were arrested.
Some of the protesters allegedly threw rocks at police officers in riot gear, kicked squad cars and blocked intersections as they marched and chanted, “Hands up; don’t shoot” and “Whose streets? Our streets.”
The 24 individuals who were arrested face misdemeanor charges, including failure to disperse, the Anaheim Police Department confirmed Thursday morning.