Off-duty LAPD officer fires gun during fight with teens in Anaheim

The Anaheim Police Department and mayor's office are expected today to release details about the investigation into a fight involving at least two teenage boys and an off-duty Los Angeles police officer who opened fire during the scrum, though no one was hit.

A video purporting to show part of the fight was shared with the FOX 11 Facebook page. (Warning: Video contains graphic language.)

Both the offices of Mayor Tom Tait and Anaheim police Chief Raul Quezada promised a thorough investigation of Tuesday's shooting, which sparked protests Wednesday night after video surfaced of the skirmish.

Dozens protested outside the officer's home near Euclid Street and Palai Road, which led to the arrests of 24 people. The arrestees included 10 men, eight women, three male juveniles and three female juveniles, said Anaheim police Sgt. Daron Wyatt.

The infractions attributed to the protestors were all misdemeanors and included failure to disperse, resisting arrest, and battery on a peace officer, Wyatt said.

The names of the people arrested and the charges they face are expected to be released mid-morning, according to Wyatt. There are reports that several residences and vehicles, including the LAPD officer's, were vandalized amid the protests, but damage estimates were not immediately available.

The officer is on administrative leave, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, whose Force Investigation Division is investigating the shooting and will review all video of the incident.

Two of the boys were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor battery and assault and making criminal threats. The boys were released to their parents Tuesday, according to Anaheim police.

Officers responded about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday to a report of a fight between a man and several boys and learned en route that the man was an off-duty LAPD officer who had "discharged his firearm and was detaining at least one of the juveniles," said Wyatt. The Anaheim Police Department also is investigating the shooting.

The video of the conflict has generated a great deal of interest. Wyatt said it "picks up several houses down from where the initial contact was made."

For several months, the officer has been dealing with local teens walking across his lawn, Wyatt said, and him asking the teens to walk on the sidewalk Tuesday sparked the fight.

What's in dispute is what a 13-year-old said to the officer. The officer said he moved to detain the teen because he allegedly said he would shoot him, Wyatt said.

The boy's mother, however, has told reporters her son told the officer he intended to "sue you," Wyatt said. On the video, the boy is heard insisting he said "sue you," not "shoot you." At some point, another boy, a 15-year-old, barreled into the two over some bushes, knocking the officer down.

The officer held on to the 13-year-old and as he was getting up other onlookers appear to converge on the officer in a menacing fashion but then they scamper away in fear when a shot rings out.

The LAPD officer has been reassigned to a desk job, which is routine in an officer-involved shooting.

Tait said the city is committed to a thorough, impartial investigation of Tuesday's shooting. "Like many in the community, I've seen the video and I'm very concerned about what it shows," Tait said. "Anaheim is committed to a full and impartial investigation. Our city will move forward without delay."

Once the investigation is completed the results will be forwarded to the Orange County District Attorney's Office for review, Wyatt said. "The complete investigation will be reviewed by the chief of police and the Board of Police Commissioners to determine whether the use of deadly force complied with LAPD's policies and procedures," according to an LAPD statement.

Jennifer Rojas, community engagement and policy advocate at the ACLU of Southern California, said the organization is "deeply disturbed" by reports and video of what occurred. "The ACLU calls on the LAPD to investigate the matter fully and take appropriate action in regard to the officer," she said.

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