Let’s Not Rush To Judge In Incident Between Anaheim Homeowner/Off-Duty Cop And Group Of Teenagers

Cross-posted from OC Daily:

A video of Tuesday afternoon altercation in Anaheim homeowner Kevin J. Ferguson – who is also an LAPD officer – and 13-year old Christian Dorscht and a group of about two dozen teenagers has gone viral, garnering millions of views and sparking a mini-riot in the 1960s tract home neighborhood near Loara High School. Attention is focused on Ferguson drawing his weapon and firing a shot as he struggled with Dorschter and after some teenagers had assaulted him and others surrounded him.

There are a number of unanswered questions, most pointedly why Ferguson was carrying a concealed weapon, why he drew it, and whether or not he intentionally discharged it.

Until those and other questions are answered, and until we have a fuller picture of why this incident took place – and here it would be helpful local officials should refrain from rushing to judgment until they are answered.

It’s easy to cast Mr. Ferguson as the villain based on the particular version of the video that has gone viral, but in fairness we should point out that version omits the early stages of the encounter that broaden the context of it.

How The Incident Transpired
At a press conference today – click here to watch it – Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada laid out the facts as they are known:

It began around 2:40 on Tuesday, February 21, and it involved on ongoing dispute between the off-duty officer and some juveniles who continuously walked across his property.

I personally wish the off-duty officer had awaited our arrival before taking action, but instead he decided to confront the juveniles.

During the confrontation, it is alleged the 13-year old boy made a threat against the officer that led the officer to believe that the officer was going to shoot him.

At that point the juvenile walked away, and the officer made the decision to try and detain the juvenile pending our arrival. While physically detaining the juvenile several houses away from where the initial incident began, several other juveniles become involved, and a physical altercation ensued.

At least two juveniles physically assaulted the officer, knocking him to the ground. Following the second battery, and as several people began to surround the officer, the officer removed a handgun and one round was discharged.

The statements obtained were consistent that the officer did not shoot at anyone, but instead at the ground. Our officers arrived shortly thereafter.

Now let me address our decision making here.

With regard to the juveniles, clear and compelling evidence exists supporting the 13-year old’s involvement in making criminal threats and engaging in battery. And the 15-year old’s involvement in an assault and battery.

And I ask you to recall that not all videos had been submitted or collected at the time of our initial investigation.

Both juveniles were arrested and based on the charges the 13-year old was booked at Orange County Juvenile Hall, and the 15-year old was released to his parents.

With regard to the off-duty officer, while the evidence is clear and compelling that he did detain the juvenile and discharged his firearm, there was insufficient evidence at the time to prove the officer’s action rose to the level of a criminal act.

Not As Black-and-White As The “Bad Cop-Innocent Teen” Narrative
Predictably, the homeowner and off-duty officer is being portrayed as the villain here. As Mayor Tom Tait said at the press conference, “Like many, I am deeply disturbed and angry by what it shows. The video shows an adult wrestling with a 13-year old kid, and ultimately firing a gun.”

That is misleading, incomplete and unfair. This was a messy incident in which those involved could have made better choices as it progressed, but a fair viewing of the available videos reveals a more complicated situation that the Mayor’s abridged, over-simplified version of events.

This video by a Jay Gonzalez shows what transpired before the more famous viral video commences:

Here you see Dorscht mouthing off to Ferguson, who is trying to detain him until the police (whom he called) arrive. Also involved in the verbal altercation at this point is the teenager who a few minutes later tackles Ferguson, knocking him over a hedge.  Dorscht accuses Ferguson of calling a girl who trespassed on his property a dirty name, which Ferguson denies. Dorscht says his dad “is a cop;” Ferguson responds, “I don’t care if your dad’s a cop. I’ll explain it to him face-to-face.”

“How you gonna do that” Dorscht says. “I…I didn’t say shit.”

“If that’s true have him come out here,” Ferguson responded.

Dorscht lunges at Ferguson, pushing him into a small tree while saying, “I’m just defending myself.”

Ferguson hangs on to Dorscht and pulls him onto the front lawn of a home, followed by several teenage boys who quickly surround them.

“He tried hitting me in my nuts,” Dorscht tells the other teenagers. “That’s like a little pussy move. Punch a kid in the nuts? Fight like a man if your actually gonna fight a kid.”

“I’m gonna wait right here with you,” Ferguson replied. He continued pulling Dorscht back toward his house, where the incident began, telling Dorscht “You shouldn’t have made the threat you were gonna shoot me.”

Dorscht denied it, claiming he said he was going to “sue” him.

Several of the teenage boys again surrounded them, with one attempting the pry Dorscht from Ferguson’s grip, to which the off-duty officer said “Get your fucking hands off me.” After Dorscht and Ferguson wrestle-walked a few feet further, a tall teenage boy came over and tried to break Dorscht free. A few second later, the tall teenage boy at the beginning of the video rushes in an tackles Ferguson, knocking him into a hedge separating two homes.

Ferguson then tries dragging Dorscht over the hedge. Another teenage boy runs over and takes a swing at Ferguson’s head while another teen jumps the hedge and approaches the off-duty officer.

The more famous video from the La Raza Unida Facebook page provides a better view of the what happened when the officer pulled and then fired his pistol:

49 comments

  1. Murderous graffiti vandals stabbed James Blue with a knife and severed his spine and shot and killed Dave Douglas recently among many other violent incidents committed by youth. The officer in this incident was lawfully detaining the suspect when attacked and injured by other suspects. The warning shot was lawful and necessary to prevent the officer from being stabbed to death. I sent emails over the past several weeks of the overwhelming presence of graffiti vandalism to Mayor Tait warning of impending incidents. Mayor Tait ignored my emails demanding he hold parent’s accountable under California Parental Responsibility Laws and remove the graffiti. Graffiti vandalism and destruction of property leads to murder in Anaheim. I support Anaheim Poluce and Law Enforcement Partners and if I was present during the attack on this Los Angeles Police Officer I would have blocked the juvenile delinquents from reaching him. James Robert Reade.

    • So you would have separated the man from the juveniles, yes good.

      Or should we just arrest all kids cause they are bad?

      If my dad saw a man dragging me across the lawn he would have beat him to a pulp. My dad was a bad ass!
      I’m just all talk…

      M

    • Re: “The officer in this incident was lawfully detaining the suspect”

      He didn’t identify himself as a police officer by showing his badge or wearing a uniform. The children had no reason to believe him. In my opinion, he just looked like some thug who was trying to abduct a kid. He’s the adult, and it’s his behavior that escalated the situation and put the lives of those children in danger.

    • The video depicts an attempted kidnapping. Most states allow for the use of deadly force to fight off a kidnapping (California included). Those kids were wholly justified in trying to fight off the abductor. One can only hope Mr. Dorscht and family make the civil suit as painful as possible.

  2. Thank you for sharing this insight, please continue to do so.

    • Multiple broken windows, graffiti, the American Flag taken down, windows on cars smashed including but not limited to police cars, cars dented and painted, it was anything but peaceful. Also, there is more to this story. This neighborhood has been requesting for help for a long time. We always should not rush to comment or judge.

      • Matt,
        You seem to blame the kids in this. Do you think they are acting badly because of the public school teachers?

        Would your charter take them in? Or would the charter school be an option for only the well behaved and the public school can have what is left over?

        Since you object to mayor tait’s comments would you like Lucille to come in and calm things down by saying taxpayer money would be saved if the boy would have been shot and killed?

  3. What do you mean don’t rush to judgement. At our Anaheim Bros. Meeting we were told the only way to get attention was to be disrespectful and destructive.

    • It does seem that the protests lately at city hall conducted by legitimate organizations have been nothing but peaceful. Even Rally’s for peace.
      That is what I have seen.
      But when the police come to a scene and 12 young adults point to the perpetrator and the police instead arrest some little kids? That is just the system gone crazy and the kids made it their job to point it out. The damage to anyone’s house was minimal. A broken window and a keyed car. My sons car was keyed by his girlfriends previous boyfriend in high school many years ago.
      In our political fight with the STRs (adults) they attacked my car broke the window and stole all the anti STR signs I had in the car. Luckily they left my drugs!
      And when the kids write their stuff on the sign at the entrance to the park I go clean it off.
      Like we never did any of that stuff when we were kids. Think back, back in time (back to the days of the troglodytes) unless you have conveniently forgotten…

      • Yeah, Mike. An innocent old couple gets rocks thrown through their window and houses vandalized by hooligans who thought it was the homeowner/off-duty-cop’s house. Really – what’s the big the deal, huh? Those old people should just calm down and try to understand the kids’ feelings, right? Maybe you can pay them a visit and tell them to just calm down and be a little more understanding.

        And vandalizing the off–duty-cop’s house and car? Again, no big deal, right? After all, you’re not the one who has to pay hundreds of dollars to repair the damage, right? So what do you care?

        Vandalizing, hooliganism, not knowing if some punks are going to show up in the middle of the night at your house to some “teenage hijinks”? I mean – who among us didn’t spend our teen years vandalizing?

        I have an idea, Mike: I would like to see you run for city council on your archaic, idiotic, hippie ideology and see how well that goes down with normal votes.

      • You are a POS – it’s okay for people to rip apart their neighborhood in the middle of the night because it’s just “kids being kids” but you and your family freak out over some families staying at STRs in your neighborhood because they make too much noise having coffee in the morning? Too bad those vacationers with toddlers in tow didn’t key your cars on the way out of town since it’s no big deal. You are the definition of a hypocrite.

    • AVLS Pride I hope that is sarcasm. If it is sad even then. This was a terrible scene. #peaceful protest

  4. I sent an email to Mayor Tait wth a strategy to prevent further incidents. Protect the officers home and surrounding neighborhood with a checkpoint for several months and implement a chaperone policy and system for students walking through our neighborhoods to and from school, immediately. I received no response. The neighborhood was left unprotected and rioters unlawfully assembled on the private properties and committed acts of violence and damage to property. Graffiti vandals continue to damage property to and from school. There is no leadership in this city.

    • JRR on this I completely agree with you and your plan sounds like it would work and is most needed.

    • JRR send your plan to Chief Raul Quezada

    • Re: “for students walking through our neighborhoods”

      “Our” neighborhoods? Those kids live there. And no, there should not be any checkpoints, how ridiculous. I have an idea. Adults should neither kidnap kids nor fire weapons at them. Those who do should be arrested and prosecuted.

      As for the protesters, I think holding a town hall meeting with elected officials is more productive. And it doesn’t have to be limited to Anaheim officials, but should also include members of Congress and the US Senate. Protests are OK if they’re 100% peaceful, but too often a small number of people commit acts of violence that not not only endanger people but distract from the original injury.

      • In the interest of public safety a moratorium on students walking through Palais should be effective immediately.

        • There should be a 6 month Permit Parking instituted in the whole Anawood neighborhood. It is not just Palais that this is occurring on, yes this was the worst, but it is happening on many of the streets. There are checkpoints right now and well needed ones.#peacefulsolutions.

          • Checkpoints for kids walking home from school in their own neighborhood? I don’t think so.

            • Julie- checkpoints for cars at night. The cars that drove into this neighborhood to cause damage and “light this neighborhood up.” Checkpoints during the evening for the people that do not live in the neighborhood. This could deter further violent protests. This could have happened to anyone who lives in the neighborhood, it is said and can be confirmed that this is a long ongoing problem that the police and schools are aware of. Most often the youth that are walking are walking through the neighborhood to get to theirs.

  5. It’s a.city of kindness. Tait says so.

  6. The Latino community in Anaheim is fearful of all that is going on. I know from the hills it’s easy to say don’t worry the non criminals have nothing to fear. But the threat for deportation is real even if you were born here, you probably have a close family member that. Is in danger.

    Add that to continued disrespect and stereotyping that is thrown your way and you might understand where these protesters are coming from.

  7. In my opinion, he had no right to put his hands on that boy, much less forcibly move him. Did you see how he dragged the boy across the lawns of two houses? It looked like a kidnapping. Secondly, when the boy’s friends tried to free him, he chose to fire his gun rather than let that 13 year old boy go. He dragged that boy over the hedge and refused to let go, as if the boy were his captured prey. He was willing fire at the other kids, willing to risk the lives of those other kids to keep his prey.

    Also, this guy is supposed to be an officer of the law, but he wore no uniform, and showed no badge. The kids had no idea who he was. Moreover, from what I have read, he violated procedure by not keeping his weapon in a holster. I also read that the gun was already cocked, so in my opinion, that shows intent.
    None of the houses in the video were the officer’s house, so did he follow those kids down the street? In my opinion, he wanted to drag that boy back to his property to harm him and then claim self defense. That old man in the video was allegedly the officer’s father so in my opinion he would have backed up his son, giving him carte blanche. To me it appears as if they had a plan, a plan that went awry because the other children would not abandon their friend. They didn’t count on that!

    This whole thing is sick. These lunatics are emboldened because of the political climate, so the best thing is for parents to pick up their children from school if possible. I hope that little boy gets support and counseling for the trauma he’s endured from the abusive officer and from the city of Anaheim. Shame on Anaheim. They arrested the wrong person.

    In my opinion, Los Angeles will fire that creep, and not a moment too soon!

  8. In your spin, tiny little Dorscht “lunges at Ferguson” (like a scary little hispanic pit bull!) – he had been held prisoner by the guy for minutes! Do you have any appreciation of how important it is to be FREE?

    • It’s not spin, Vern. I simply described what is in the video. If you want to pretend Dorscht did not lunge at Ferguson and push him, that’s your prerogative. Unlike you and your progressive and anti-police allies, I haven’t injected race into this. It’s your side that is trying to frame and exploit this as a race issue.

      • When somebody’s holding you down for minutes, despite your very patient entreaties to be let go, and you put a little extra effort into trying to free yourself, that is not LUNGING.

        And how the hell am I being “anti-police” about this?

        • What they fail to see is that he had no right to put his hands on that kid.

          • The Los Angeles Police Officer was acting within the law by detaining the suspect awaiting Anaheim Police backup to arrive and the suspects were arrested and transported to jail which invalidates your comment Julie.

            • He never proved that he was a police officer. No uniform and no badge.

              Those kids were let go because the video showed that they did nothing wrong. That kid will probably sue and win, and the officer will probably be fired. No way can he justify that behavior–attempted kidnapping and firing a gun into a crowd of children–over some kids allegedly walking on a lawn. No way. You could tell that he liked verbally sparring with the children and dragging that boy around like a rag doll. What a sicko!

              In my opinion, he’s a loon who has no business being a police officer.

        • Again, that’s not what the video shows. Ferguson wasn’t holding Dorscht down. He had him by the shoulder detaining him until the police (whom he and his elderly father had called) arrived.

          • The worst part (apart from I’m not sure what your motivation is for carrying this cop’s water) is that the kids were arrested, and the cop not. From everything I’ve seen, Christian and the black dude were heroes.

            • Of course you think that Vern. You and your wife hate cops and think they are wrong on every occasion.
              The chief said there was evidence to arrest both kids and not any to arrest the officer. But he’s probably lying too, right?
              Also, additionally reports noted a large number of neighbors corroborated the officers story and stated that the kids routinely caused trouble in the neighborhood. The school confirmed this. But it’s probably a big conspiracy!
              Glad to see that you think the kids behavior deserves hero status.

              • I saw the videos, blondie. They are pretty plain.

                • Try not to be a jerk, Vern. It doesn’t help your case.

                  Apparently the videos aren’t plain enough for you since you’re justifying assault and battery.

                • Not blonde, Vern. Not sure how thats relevant to the discussion. The videos that are plain to you, are just as plain to those that see it differently.
                  In every instance that there is a use of force by the Pd, you blame the PD. Every time. Your bias towards police is so overwhelming you can’t see straight.

  9. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that” Martin Luther King

    #PEACEFULPROTEST
    #COEXIST

  10. This neighborhood has asked for help

  11. I’ll admit…STUPID was the first thing I thought when I read Julie and who I imagine is one of the moron’s using one of Diamonds dreaded fake names…….STUPID is what I thought when I heard little Christian Dorscht’s language and grammar, REALLY STUPID is what I thought when I heard his Father Johnny Dorscht on the news.

    However, now I am not so sure. this guy is POUNCING while this story is hot, he might make a quarter million bucks by the time this thing is done:

    Consider this:

    https://www.youcaring.com/christianandfamily-763075

    $20,000 bucks from idiots on his “Go Fund Me”, I mean Jose Moreno and Leon Cisen’eros couldn’t raise nearly that much to pay for their junkets, but this cat pulled in $20K in a week. PLUS he is shopping his story to Dr. Phil, Univision and anyone else who will buy a Buffalo Wild Wings dinner (and Pitchers BRO!). This Father is a class act all the way.

    I am sure he is NOT the same Johnny Dorscht who has been convicted of felonies, after all Christian’s “REAL” Dad says he was a good kid the last time he saw him in 2009! And he’s a cop too!

  12. I don’t have amything to do all day. I might volunteer to be a crossing guard.

  13. Wanted to share a West Virgina town trying a different kind of “protest.” https://bertfulks.com/2016/11/15/protest-erupts-in-huntington-wv-loverioting/

  14. The fact the cop had been drinking, brought a concealed weapon to the confrontation, did not identify himself, and assaulted nearly 20 kids when he pulled the weapon indicates a severe lack of judgment. For all anyone knew he was a pervert trying to kidnap a young boy. The fact the police arrested the kid for threatening to sue the cop is a disgrace–typical of the blue wall circling the wagons and defending the indefensible.

    Had that been some Joe Sixpack who did the same thing, he’d have been arrested immediately for kidnapping, felony firearms, assault with a deadly weapon/attempted murder, etc. and would likely spend the remainder of his life in the fun house. This kind of thing shows being a vigilante is okay if you’re a cop.

  15. Gary on what are you basing your comments? Were you there? There is more to this story and your comments are irresponsible, inflamatory and most importantly untrue.

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