Anaheim police and city officials on Friday promised a full and impartial investigation into the off-duty LAPD officer who fired a gun during a confrontation with teenagers.
The incident was caught on cell phone video.
“I’m deeply disturbed, frankly angered by what (the video) shows,” Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said at a news conference. “That should have never have happened, not in one of our neighborhoods, not near one of our schools.”
“As a father and as a police chief, I too am disturbed by what I saw in the videos that were posted on the internet,” Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada said.
Police said the incident stemmed from ongoing issues the officer had with youth walking across his lawn. The teens involved have said the officer made lewd and offensive remarks toward a teenage girl. The teens involved were primarily Latino.
Anaheim police said a 13-year-old was threatening to shoot the officer, which the boy’s mother disputes.
“In reality he was saying, ‘I’m going to sue you. You keep hitting me. You’re hurting me. I’m going to sue you,'” the teen’s mother told ABC 7 in Los Angeles.
The video shows the officer holding onto the 13-year-old while the teen and others attempt to talk to him. Eventually two of the teens appear to knock the officer down over some bushes, at which point the officer draws his weapon and fires into the ground.
The 13-year-old boy and another 15-year-old were arrested and later released. The officer has been placed on administrative leave, in accordance with department policy.
The incident sparked protests over the weekend in which cars were vandalized, one home was spray-painted with anti-police graffiti and 23 people were arrested, Quezada said.
The video will certainly play a key role in the investigation, just as attorneys say video should have played a key role in the investigation of Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny’s fatal shooting of Tony Robinson in 2015. At a news conference Thursday they said Kenny’s dashcam video clearly shows that he lied about the incident and was not, in fact, being physically threatened by the 19-year-old Robinson. They said the video was also key to the City’s insurance company deciding to settle the civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of Robinson’s estate for a record $3.35 million.