Protests erupted Wednesday night in Anaheim, resulting in 24 arrests, after two videos emerged showing an off-duty Los Angeles police officer pulling his gun and firing during an altercation in a residential Anaheim neighborhood on Tuesday, February 21, with a 13-year-old Latino boy after the boy and his friends walked across the officer’s front lawn.
The videos show the white cop pulling the boy by his sweatshirt collar across a stretch of grass. The boy, who has been identified by the O.C. Weekly and Telemundo as Christian Dorscht, shouts to the officer to let go of him, and tells the man that his dad is a cop. (The 13-year-old’s step-father is reportedly a police officer.)
The LAPD officer says he won’t let go of Dorscht claiming that the boy said he would “shoot” him, and that the boy is resisting. Dorscht tells the cop that he said he would “sue him” for hitting a minor, not “shoot” him. “Can’t you hear?” yells the upset Dorscht. The boy appears to say in the video that the officer tried to punch him in the groin.
During the altercation, Dorscht says the officer “tackled” him after he stood up for his friend, a girl, whom Dorscht says the cop called a “cunt,” when they walked across the man’s yard. In the video, the boy says he only told the officer to “respect the girl.” The officer denies calling the girl a “cunt.”
In the video, as the officer and the boy move across the yard in tandem, the teenager continues to try unsuccessfully to break free. Another teen moves in and pushes the officer over a short hedge, sending both the officer and Dorscht sprawling. The officer gets up quickly, and starts dragging the boy again, this time by the hood of his sweatshirt, across the hedge bordering a driveway.
Another boy appears to smack the officer’s hand, and several more boys move closer to the cop and the boy. Meanwhile kids are yelling at the officer to let Dorscht go. The officer then pulls out a gun from his waist, facing several of the boys, and then uses the hand holding the gun to continue his effort to drag the boy across the hedge. At that point, the officer discharged his weapon, sending kids running.
Christian Dorscht was released from Orange County Juvenile Hall one day after the incident, after being arrested on criminal threats and battery charges. Photos obtained by OC Weekly show bruises on the boy’s neck and forehead.
One of the boy’s friends, a 15-year-old, was arrested for assault and battery, but was reportedly released to his parents the day of the incident.
The boy’s father, Johnny Dorscht, told OC Weekly that his son had never before been in trouble with the law, is a good student, and is very well-mannered. Dorscht said that the family would be filing a lawsuit.
“This is B.S. Even the cops, when they got there, they had all the kids down,” the boy’s father said. “They didn’t even go after the guy.”
The LAPD has launched an internal investigation into the incident, and the officer involved is currently on administrative leave. In a statement released late Wednesday, the LAPD said that detectives from the department’s Force Investigation Division and a representative from the Inspector General’s Office responded to the location. Anaheim police were at the scene conducting the criminal investigation.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and the LA Police Commission will review the investigation and decide whether the use of deadly force was in compliance with department policy.