An off-duty LAPD officer has been placed on administrative leave after firing a round during an altercation with a group of teenagers in an Anaheim, Ca., neighborhood, according to NBC News.
Several videos of the incident surfaced online, sparking protests outside the officer’s home. Twenty-four people have been arrested.
The video begins after the initial altercation. It shows the officer holding a 13-year-old boy by the collar with several other teenagers gathered around. The situation remains relatively calm until two other young males attack and surround the officer. He falls back into a hedge, gets up, and fires one round into the ground.
Sgt. Daron Wyatt, an Anaheim police spokesman, told NBC Los Angeles that the officer has been in an “ongoing dispute” with “a number of juveniles who continually walk across his property.”
“He’s asked them to stay off the property,” but on Tuesday, “it happened again, and it led to a verbal confrontation between the off-duty officer and a group of individuals,” Wyatt said.
The officer and the teenager can be heard in the video arguing about what started last week’s incident. The teenager claims the officer called one of the girl’s in his group a derogatory name. The officer says that the boy threatened to “shoot” him, while the boy claims he said “sue.”
Wyatt said the officer was attempting to hold the boy until the Anaheim PD could arrive.
The officer’s lawyer, Attorney Larry Hanna, said his client feared for his life and was “trained to react the way he did.”
“This started with a young man with his hands in his pocket, stating what the officer heard was, ‘I’m going to shoot you, I’m going to shoot you,'” Hanna said.
The 13-year-old’s grandmother, Jennifer Dorscht, disagrees. She told NBC that her grandson was simply sticking up for one of his friends.
“It’s just a terrible situation,” she said at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, where the boy was examined. “It could’ve been handled completely in a different manner. He’s a good kid. He does all the right things. He has a good heart. I think that’s why he stuck up for this girl.”
No one was seriously injured, but the 13-year-old was arrested and taken to the hospital. He was released later the day.
The LAPD hasn’t released the name of the officer, but they’re launching an internal investigation into his actions. The city of Anaheim is also investigating the incident.