Hundreds of activists protested near the home of a police officer in Anaheim, California, Wednesday over video allegedly showing the plainclothes cop firing a gun in front of a group of minors. Many chanted, “don’t shoot the kids,” and “arrest violent cops!”
Police have arrested two teenagers in connection with Tuesday afternoon’s confrontation, but Gaby Hernandez, a spokesperson for a group that organized the protest, told The Huffington Post that activists want the “immediate arrest” of the officer for “child abuse” for the incident.
Two videos that witnesses filmed of the dispute have attracted more than 5 million views since Tuesday. The footage shows a white man pulling a 13-year-old Latino boy by his collar as a group of minors watch, repeatedly asking the adult to let him go. Anaheim Police Department later identified the man as an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer, though they did not name him.
In the video, the off-duty officer can be heard saying that the boy threatened to shoot him. The teen can be heard denying the officer’s claim. The teenager adds that the officer called another girl an offensive word for walking on his property.
One kid rushes at the off-duty officer and the teen, causing them to fall in a bush. Another teenager tries to punch the man but misses. The officer then appears to pull a gun from his waistband and a single gunshot rings out. Police later arrive on the scene.
The video does not show what led up to the incident, but authorities said it began when a group of kids walked across the officer’s property on Tuesday at 2:40 p.m., according to an official press release.
Police allege that a 13-year-old boy threatened to shoot the off-duty police officer, “at which time the officer attempted to detain the teen.” Anaheim police confirmed that the off-duty officer fired the gun once, but said no one was struck by gunfire.
The 13 year old’s father says he learned from the teen’s mother that their son had told the officer “I’m going to sue you,” but the officer heard “shoot” instead of “sue,” OC Weekly reported.
At 2:05 in the video above, the teen can be heard insisting to the officer that he said “sue” and not “shoot.”
Demonstrators assembled Wednesday night in the neighborhood where the footage was filmed condemned the officer’s behavior. Naui Ocelotl Huitzilopochtli, a protestor and Orange County resident who lives 5 miles from the officer’s house, said that the community was upset with the Anaheim police for arresting the teen and not the officer.
“You can tell the people are mad,”Huitzilopochtli told HuffPost.
“If it would have been a [white kid] this would have never happened,” he added. “White kids don’t go through this,” referring to the 13-year-old’s arrest. “Only people of Mexican descent or black people.”
Anaheim Police Department Sgt. Daron Wyatt said Thursday that at least 24 people were arrested during a protest at the intersection of Palais Road and Euclid Street, including six people he described as juveniles.
“All are misdemeanor charges for … variations of failure to disperse, resisting arrest, and battery on a peace officer,” Wyatt said. He added that there were reports of car or home windows being broken and “other acts of vandalism.”
Police have arrested a 13-year-old boy they believe appeared in the video for criminal threats and battery. They also arrested a 15-year-old for assault and battery, according to an Anaheim police press release issued Tuesday. The off-duty officer was not arrested but is cooperating with the investigation.
A spokesperson for the LAPD told HuffPost on Wednesday that it has launched an administrative investigation into the incident, adding that the off-duty officer is not currently facing any charges. However, he has been placed on administrative duty while the LAPD conducts their investigation, according to NBC4 News.
The teen’s family said that their attorneys are examining the incident.
Alma Jimenez, a woman claiming to be the teen’s mom, said on Facebook she’s asking for justice over the confrontation. The teen’s father told OC Weekly that the family is seeking legal representation and plans to sue.
Matt Ferner contributed to this report.
This article has been updated with information from Sgt. Daron Wyatt and the teenager’s father.