News of an off-duty Southern California police officer who purportedly fired his gun during a dispute with a 13-year-old boy has sparked outrage after videos of the confrontation appeared on social media Wednesday.
Protests erupted as demonstrators called for the arrest of the LAPD officer, whose apparent use of a gun during the heated argument over what authorities said was an ongoing issue of children walking across the lawn of his Anaheim home.
The argument seen in footage taken Tuesday began after the 13-year-old believed the officer had cursed a teenage girl he was with, the L.A. Times reports.
When the teen boy confronts him, the officer says "That’s not what I said" before telling another teen "Shut the… up... you weren’t even there."
The officer then appears to grab the 13-year-old's collar and attempts to drag him before someone rushes the cop and pushes him over a hedge.
As more young people begin to surround the officer, he appears to pull a handgun from the waist of his jeans and a shot is heard.
The 13-year-old boy and one teenager say that the 13-year-old told the man he was going to "sue" the cop, who apparently heard the word "shoot."
When police arrived, the officer is seen walking away with his hands in the air. However, he was not detained.
The 13-year-old boy was detained, however, and later booked at Orange County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of making criminal threats and battery.
A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of assault and battery and later released, according to the Anaheim Police Department.
Those arrests, paired with the off-duty cop's use of a gun, sparked protests in Anaheim Wednesday as hundreds took to the streets calling for the officer's arrest.
Anaheim police reported about 24 arrests for misdemeanor charges near Disneyland Wednesday night into Thursday.
While the protests began peacefully, CBS Los Angeles reported that some protesters threw rocks and bottles at officers over the course of the night.
As of Thursday morning, the status of the teen's charges remained unclear.
In a statement, the Anaheim PD said a special telephone number has been created for those who want to comment on this event. The number is 714-765-7990.
The statement reads:
"The Anaheim Police Department Homicide Detail is investigating the criminal culpability of the off-duty police officer, as well as the juveniles involved. The videos posted online do not depict the entire event. Our job is to collect all of the facts and evidence to present the clearest and most accurate information to the District Attorney's Office as they make their decision on the filing of criminal charges.
"As far as the officer's employment status, he does not work for our agency, but the LAPD is completing its own investigation into the actions of their officer.
"We have received reports of planned protests. Peaceful protests in accordance with the law are perfectly acceptable. Acts of violence or vandalism will not be tolerated."
While Anaheim cops investigate, LAPD spokesman Capt. Andy Neiman said the department had launched its own internal investigation as part of standard procedure when officers fire their guns.
"We will continue to conduct the internal investigation to determine the actions of the officer and the circumstances, and then we’ll consult with the Orange County district attorney as well to determine if there’s any issues," Neiman said.
As with all shootings by LAPD officers, Neiman said, the off-duty officer will remain out of the field until what’s known as a 72-hour briefing, when Chief Charlie Beck reviews the initial inquiry into the case and determines whether the officer can return.