UPDATE #3, FEB. 23, 9:01 A.M.: Hundreds of people protested in the neighborhood last night—read our dispatch here.
UPDATE #2. 5:45 P.M. The father of the boy, now identified as Christian Dorscht, talked to the Weekly. Read our interview with him here.
UPDATE, FEB. 22, 3:50 P.M.: A protest is being called by local police brutality activists tonight at 7 p.m. on the corner of Euclid Street and W. Palais Rd. over yesterday’s incident where an unnamed off-duty LAPD officer pulled a gun and fired near a group of kids walking home from school. In the meantime, a new video has surfaced that begins earlier and shows the cop arguing with the 13-year-old while grabbing a hold of him and his backpack. The teen also accuses the elderly bearded white man seen in the video of trying to hit him with his cane.
ORIGINAL STORY, FEB. 22, 3:19 P.M.: A group of teens were walking home from school yesterday afternoon in the West Palais neighborhood of Anaheim when a resident confronted them. The off-duty Los Angeles policeman apparently complained that they were walking on his property. Words were exchanged, the man grabbed a 13-year-old named Christian (per the Facebook post of a woman claiming to be his mom), and kids whipped out their smartphones to film what happened next, a video that’s since gone viral.
According to Anaheim police, Christian threatened to shoot the man, which led to the cop trying to cuff him. “You’ve been resisting this whole time,” the man told Christian, who can be seen in the video clutching the youth and refusing to let go. “Punch a kid in the nuts, that’s a little pussy move,” Christian responded. “Let me go, for the last time!”
Christian alleged in the video that the off-duty cop called a girl a “cunt” when telling her to get off his property, and then tackled him first when he stood up for her.
The verbal exchanges led to the off-duty cop dragging the kid towards some bushes. It’s unclear from the tape if he ever identified himself as a police officer. “I’d understand if you were a cop, but you’re not a cop,” Christian told the off-duty officer at one point during the video. One teen came in to shove the man over the bushes after the impasse. Another took a swing but missed. That’s when the off-duty cop reached into his waistband and pulled out a gun. The surrounding youth started backing off—and then a shot rang out.
“Chingue su madre!” the kid recording the incident said before running towards the other side of the street. An unidentified elderly man with a white, cottony beard apparently called police, saying the gunfire was accidental, drawing jeers from the kids.
Anaheim police finally arrived to detain Christian and his friends. He was booked at Orange County Juvenile Hall for criminal threats and battery. Police arrested a 15-year-old for assault and battery before releasing him to his parents. The Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office will review the case.
Details remained slim in the incident until viral videos surfaced online. “We cannot authenticate the validity of these videos as they were not recorded or posted by APD,” wrote Anaheim police spokesman Daron Wyatt in a press release. “However, they do appear to depict portions of the incident in question.”
As for the off-duty cop? Anaheim’s finest declined to arrest him. The LAPD is conducting an internal affairs investigation into his conduct. APD’s Homicide Unit is looking into the circumstances surrounding the single gunshot.
Stay tuned for more on the developing desmadre.
Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!