Saturday, February 25, 2017

Violence Breaks Out in Anaheim as Off-Duty Cop Scuffles with 13-Year-Old Boy (VIDEO)

Everything's going to be videotaped nowadays.

And a single off-duty cop would be having a hard time anyway, surrounded by a gang of young teenage hoodlums.

At the Los Angeles Times, "How an off-duty cop telling teens to stay out of his yard escalated to gunfire, protests and outrage":

The altercation on the tidy, suburban street in Anaheim apparently began with a complaint common in many neighborhoods: a group of teenagers walking through a neighbor’s yard on their way home from school.

But this seemingly mundane dispute spun out of control on West Palais Road on Tuesday when authorities say an off-duty Los Angeles police officer confronted the group. Other teenagers pulled out their cameras, filming the officer as he held a 13-year-old boy by the collar of his sweatshirt, trying to detain him.

The situation quickly escalated from there. At one point, another teen rushed the officer, sending him tumbling over a line of bushes. The officer then reached into his jeans and drew a gun, firing a single shot.

No one was hurt by the gunfire, which Anaheim police said was aimed at the ground. But footage of the encounter stirred uproar across the country, prompting criticism of the off-duty cop’s actions and questions over why investigators arrested two teenagers — but not the officer — at the scene.

As the video went viral Wednesday, more than 300 protesters took to the streets to protest the shooting. Police broke up the demonstration and arrested 23 people, but not before some vandalized the officer’s home.

The tension in Orange County’s largest city comes after several incidents in recent years in which Latino activists have protested police shootings that they felt unfairly targeted the city’s large Latino community. Many of the teens involved in Tuesday’s incident appeared to be Latino, and the officer appears to be white.

On Thursday, officials from both Anaheim and Los Angeles scrambled to calm the public’s concern.

“Like many, I am deeply disturbed and frankly angered by what it shows,” Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said about the footage of the incident. “The video shows an adult wrestling with a 13-year-old kid and ultimately firing a gun. … It should never have happened.”

Anaheim police are investigating the altercation itself while the Los Angeles Police Department and Inspector General are conducting internal investigations into the officer’s actions.

The Los Angeles Police Commission will ultimately decide whether the officer violated any LAPD rules during the encounter.

“I am very interested in knowing the facts of the incident based on the investigation by the department and the Office of Inspector General that is underway,” said commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill. “Some of the actions — brief as that exchange caught on video may be — do not properly represent what I believe should be expected and reflected by a member of the Los Angeles Police Department when engaging members of the public, be it on-duty or off-duty.”

The officer, whose name has not been released by authorities, was removed from the field, which is standard protocol after shootings by LAPD officers.

An attorney representing the officer, Larry Hanna, declined to discuss the encounter in detail, citing the ongoing investigations. He also declined to name his client or describe his work with the LAPD, saying he was concerned for his safety.

“All of this will come out,” he said. “I just think that people should let the investigators do their job.”

The union representing rank-and-file LAPD officers came out strongly against those who criticized the officer’s action...