Palais Road Residents See the Off-Duty Cop Incident A Little Differently

Apparently, Mayor Tom Tait, Councilman Jose Moreno, AUHSD Trustee Al Jabbar, Superintendent Mike Matsuda and the AnaheimBROS held a “healing” event yesterday morning (and of course, invited the media), spreading woodchips around the playground and generally cleaning up Palm Lane Park, which is adjacent to the scene of the confrontation between a homeowner and a large group of teenagers in which the homeowner (an off-duty LAPD officer) was assaulted and subsequently discharged the pistol he was carrying into the ground. Two of the teens – including the one the homeowner was detaining in an apparent citizen arrest – were arrested. No charges have been filed against the homeowner.

Nothing wrong with pouring some oil on troubled waters. However, perhaps the mayor and the AUHSD’s political leadership should go beyond a conventional progressive “healing” exercise and consider this a “teaching moment” to honestly examine how the behavior of their students affects the residents of this neighborhood. At last week’s press conference, AUHSD Superintendent Mike Matsuda had a lot to say about the students’ feelings of safety, but concern for the feelings and safety of these homeowners was in short supply among the press conference participants. They seemed more interested in expressing disgust with the actions of the homeowner and trying to inject race into the matter.

On Friday, I visited Palais Road and spent time talking with residents there, and in the process gained a broader perspective on the situation. The Palais Road neighborhood is a mid-Sixties era tract of well-kept ranch homes. It’s clean and tidy and bespeaks pride of ownership. Many of the residents have lived there for a long time, and a number are original homeowners.

I asked for their thoughts about the incident and about the broader context in which it took place. Several homeowners pointed out their neighborhood is sandwiched between Loara High School and Palm Lane Elementary School, with Ball Junior High School nearby – and so they have a lot of students walking through the neighborhood – especially Loara students on their way to the new skate park at Palm Lane Park.

One homeowner said the kids are generally not a problem on occasions when they interact one-on-one. It’s when they’re in groups that trouble can develop. Another homeowner told me the teenagers are often rude and disrespectful and aren’t shy about tossing obscenities at them. One woman who has lived on the street for decades related how she came out in the morning to get her newspaper and came upon two teenagers laying on top of each other on her lawn, making out. Another long-time homeowner voiced his opinion that Mayor Tom Tait and Chief Raul Quezada were “throwing the [off-duty cop] under the bus.”

The new skate park at Palm Lane Park came in for particular criticism as a magnet for large groups of unsupervised teenagers hanging around, smoking pot, drinking and generally being rude and disrespectful to residents. A woman who has lived in her house next to the park for 20 years looked at me, put her thumb and forefinger together and told me she was “this close” to selling her house because of the delinquent behavior in the park. She said they sit on the curb and smoke pot, and if a neighbor challenges them and asks them to stop, the teens tell them to “f—k off.” Judging by my conversations with Palais Road residents, some form of the F-bomb was the common response by groups of teenagers passing through when confronted by corrective requests from residents.

A long-time homeowner told me that when city staff met with the neighborhood to discuss plans for a skate park, they and other homeowners were all opposed due to concern it would attract a large concentration of unsupervised teenage boys. They were told that the people who lived in nearby apartments wanted the skate park, and so it was going in.

“Who cares what I think,” he said. “I’m just a taxpayer.”

It’s important to understand there was already an issue with anti-social behavior by teenagers in the park before the skate park was installed – including skateboarding on private property. The intent was to mitigate that by concentrating that activity in a public skate facility, and afford residents in more crowded living conditions another recreational outlet. Welcome to the world of unintended consequences: concentrating a large numbers of unsupervised teenagers – particularly male teenagers – can lead to trouble, especially when inculcating the virtues of respect for adults, for authority and for private property no longer seems to be a priority in our public institutions (and apparently in a too many families).

As I stood on the sidewalk talking to some homeowners, a man who looked about 30ish pulled up, lowered his wondow and said in a lecturing, condescending tone, “You know it was wrong what that guy did, don’t you? You know it’s illegal to fire a hand gun” – as if these folks were somehow the guilty parties. He glowered at us for a few seconds before driving away.

“Yeah. Thanks,” muttered one of the residents bemusedly.

The Anaheim Union High School District very publicly embraced Mayor Tait’s “Kindness” initiative, but my conversations with Palais Road residents led me to question the efficacy of this initiative in terms of positively altering behavior.  Perhaps a follow-up Million Acts of Respect and Civility campaign in order to teach such basic elements of good citizenship as respecting private property and not telling old people to “f–k off” when they ask you to stop smoking pot in the park or walking on their property.

It’s my understanding the off-duty officer had an ongoing issue with these teenagers walking across his front, which is a salient at a sharp bend in Palais Road enroute to the park. It’s also my understanding he had previously complained to the city about this behavior, and that he came out to confront these teenagers on Tuesday after they had told his father – the elderly bearded man with the cane seen in the videos – to “f–k off.” It’s reasonable for a son to be concerned about the safety of his disabled dad who is surrounded by a couple dozen surly teenagers.

On the other hand, entering the fray with a pistol shoved into his waistband showed poor judgment. It has to be infuriating when one is continuously confronted with a surly pack of teenagers who don’t really care about respecting you or your property. But the officer had other options: turning on the sprinklers or even a hose would have been a better response to rude teenagers who ignored requests to stay off his property; or once again calling the police and hoping that would produce resolution to the problem.

At the same time, these teenagers are old enough to know better. They’re young adults. Sure, the part of the brain governing judgment and impulse control isn’t fully developed in teenagers. Still, they ought to know enough to respect other people’s property. They ought to know better than to curse at an old man who asks them to stay on the sidewalk.

The usual suspects piling on this incident have been pointing to the ages of the teenagers involved, as if that is a prima facie excuse.  The woman who earlier said she was close to selling her home had no patience for that argument: “A 15-year old murdered my son.”

Mayor Tait, the AUHSD superintendent and progressives have focused their ire and outrage on the actions of the off-duty officer and have little or nothing to say about the behavior of the pack of male teenagers. It’s clear they would like to see this man prosecuted.

So what conclusion do they expect these homeowners to draw? Mayor Tait said he saw in the video a grown man wrestling with a teenager and then firing his gun. Palais Road homeowners saw more than that; they saw one of their neighbors surrounded by two dozen hostile teenage males who began tackling him and trying to punch him — the same teenagers who come through this neighborhood every day. So what conclusion should these residents draw when the mayor and others focus on their neighbor and ignore the behavior of the teenagers?  These homeowners are the people who have for decades have provided Anaheim neighborhoods with the “social muscle” the mayor and Councilman Moreno like to talk about. Yet, their concerns are brushed aside. Whose side do they think the city is on?


  1. Education starts at home. It’s the parents responsibility of their kids behavior on the streets. You got to know where your kids are at all times. These kids have a bad behavior at their home and try to do the same on the streets. But guess what ? They find what they deserve on the streets.

    • Well said Hector

    • Parents groom their children, one hopes, to be respectful. When these children grow and find themselves amongst their friends whom perhaps were not taught what it is to be respectful both verbally and physically, well then that is when the change begins. Parents know no more than how they were brought up and thereon on continues the lineage of respect or not. Teenagers desperately wish to be heard, seen and respected but first must know how to do/act the same. Was he wrong for firing his gun? Yes of course. Should the neighborhood just close their eyes to the misfit behavior of these youths? No. What is the answer, the residents, the City alongside the Peace Officers need to map it out. Both parties of this incident behaved poorly. Two wrongs clearly do not make a right.

  2. Longtime Anaheim Resident

    Mayor Tait and Coumcilman Moreno care more about publicity than residents and homeowners. Not one of them came to the neighborhood to calm fears. There is no kindness by example from either of them. To be fair, no Council members or city staff have come out to the neighborhood but Tait and Moreno are the only ones weighing in for the mob of teenagers without any regard for the residents and welfare of this neighborhood. What’s worse is both continue to use this organization Anaheim Bros as nothing more than props in their political drama. Shame on them.

  3. I wonder: while Tait and Moreno and Jabbar were busy putting on their “see how much we care” photo op for the media, did they bother taking the time to talk to the residents? Somehow, I doubt it.

  4. Jabber was crushed in every campaign he ever ran in. Then his buddy Mike Matsuda told him the formula. Mike of course was a failed politician too. The trick was to get appointed and then run as an incumbent. Well the trick worked in no short measure thanks to an extra push by the bros. Now he grandstands at city council meetings and board meetings and asks people to take pictures of him every minute. Teaching the kids any kind of educational lesson is the last thing on his mind.

  5. Why did they fix up the park and not the homeowner’s property? It is not just Palais. All the streets in this neighborhood especially those on the cut through areas have experienced all these problems. It has been said that it could have been any one of those residents. The kids swear, go in your yards, take things, break things and then curse at you for even looking at them. They come up and look in your windows too. The residents have long asked the city for help both police and city agencies. All of the problems have been well documented with those agencies and the schools. Take a look at the crime statistics and you will see what is happening. Tally up all the phone calls. The type of people that live in this tract want a peaceful but mutually respectful coexistence. They would love to wave at the kids and offer any assistance needed, but all they would like is the respect of their privacy and their property. Please stay on this story there is way more to it. It needs exposure.

  6. As a former teacher at sycamore I can say that most our kids, and I’m sure the kids at ball and Loara are the same are respectful. My experience was that our kids were so appreciative and their parents the most supportive of any place I ever worked. As wonderful as the majority and mean 90 plus percent were, there still some that needed swift discipline. Now the district blames all bad behavior on teachers and the boundaries keep being pushed. If Matsuda or Jabber had any experience at a school site they would know this

    • High expectatuons

      If you are still a teacher, I feel sorry for your students. You can barely string together a coherent sentence let alone punctuate one properly. Woe be unto us if this is what the Anaheim schools consider adequate tutelege. As for this neighborhood, I grew up there and it used to be filled with humble, law abiding, ambitious young people who respected their elders. There needs to be some serious change or Anaheim is going to start looking like Chicago. That off duty officer had every right to protect his property and his disabled father.

      • My thoughts exactly, if this is an example of our HS education system. I question whether you attended HS let alone graduated, attended a higher learning institution, and received your credentials.

      • While your response was rather mean spirited, it was fair. I went back and read my initial posting and have to say that I am quite embarrassed. In my defense, I am old and blogging from my cell phone with a glass of wine was a bad idea. While I retired from teaching 10 years ago, I can assure you that I was qualified and dedicated. I finished my career at Oxford academy where my signature accomplishment was to push out a very poor teacher that did not measure up to our standards. That horrible excuse for a teacher was none other than Michael Matsuda.

        • Sorry I drank too much wine both stories were more based on stories I heard.

          • Expressing your feelings while drinking can be dangerous Joyce:) Forgive yourself and keep posting. Many have posted hastily while feeling passionately about a topic and made mistakes. I know I have. #glasshouses

            • Please do an expose on the Palm Lane skate park. Sit and see the value that the skate park installed in Palm Lane Park has brought to our community and our youth. Please share your findings with pictures. Please stay for an extended length of time, maybe over a few days and talk with the parents and let them share what they see and the kids going to elementary school see, on a regular basis, the broken drug pipes, vulgar/gang graffiti, the fights, the couples activities, and those taking/smoking drugs right in plain view of young impressionable youth (this is not all). See what this has done to a community park. Please include the resources that have been used for police having to be called to the park/area. Please include the graffiti removal resources used on the park area and most importantly include the spike in crimes of all types. Please include the $ spent on the riot that is still adding up, the extra lighting and the park rangers, etc.

              Police believe it was a bad idea, school officials believe it was a bad idea, not to mention the surrounding communities feelings.

              It would be very interesting to see what the drain on our resources this skate park has been. See the skate park that was put in for the betterment of our youth is quite the opposite. #wrongmessage

    • You handled that well Joyce. I’m sure you were a good teacher. Sometimes we just want to share and can’t see well!

  7. If it is left to the Matsuda, Jabbar, Moreno, Tait crowd we will have open borders, transgender bathrooms and all the inmates will be let out of jail after some love therapy.

    I say build the wall, men stay out of the girls bathroom and lock up the bad guys and long as possible.

    The next oppportunity will be the school board race. We needJabber and Randle Trejo out. The lack of discipline is a driving force in why parents want to go charter and these fools don’t get it.

  8. Please keep exposing this issue.

  9. I live in the West Anaheim area and I totally feel like the city doesn’t care about homeowners. We have a serious parking issue in our neighborhood and it seems like apartment people have priority.

  10. I have visited this skatepark as I love skateboarding. My first visit here was a good experience. But there were a massive amount of kids and yes in my couple hours there I managed to see kids under age drinking, doing dabs (smoking wax, a stronger and more pure form of THC) and witnessed a nice little fist fight between two friends that was filmed by every kid around. So is there issues around this park and neighborhood? I am sure there is….and will continue to be. This is patrolling cops responsibility or even a full time park ranger. There are quite a bit of options to make sure this place just stays a “skate park”

    Look we were all young and teens once some of us were worse than others. As a home owner now I would not want kids messing around on my property. What they do at the park is there own biz and the cops can worry about that. This is a messy situation because this is a long and ongoing battle of Teens Vs Adults. It will never end. I hope things can come to a compromise here.

    • As an Officer for a different city far away, we have a skate park and this is a common call for service. The skate park !! Kids drinking, smoking weed, fights and gang members present.

  11. Anaheim has 400 officers and should have 900. The police force does not have the available man power to keep patrolling this park to the level it needs it. This is more than a messy situation it is a dangerous one.

    • Anaheim you are right on! We need more officers badly. The extra funds the PD received last year was used to hire management not officers!

  12. Matt,
    Is the true? We only have 400 officers? I know the mayor compares Anaheim to cities like Pittsburgh and St. Louis to justify the cost of his assistant, what about our police force? I just looked up Pittsburgh and St. Louis and both are over 1200 sworn officers.

    • We actually have a little less than 400 officers. PD compares themselves to Long beach, who has over 800 pd. We have about 15-20 officers on patrol for each shift. That comes out to 4-5 for each of the 4 areas. That’s it!

      • That explains the police response to the rioting on Palais. Many officers had to work up to 18 hour days during the Palais incident. Now how can we change this. Is it divided into 4 or by districts? Either way, far too small of a number, covering too large of an area.

  13. Concerned Anaheim Resident

    I have experienced first hand that Anaheim PD are significantly understaffed, with deteriorating response times for trespassing complaints. I have repeatedly called police for assistance with trespassers, people under the influence of alcohol and drugs on private property and absolute disrespect for property owned by others. Often times it takes several hours for police to show up or no evidence law enforcement showed up at all. Graffiti and damage to property remains a growing problem, with no end in sight. Politicians are not providing adequate enforcement, leaving property owners to deal with these issues on their own. The political correctness response from Mayor Tait and other leaders remains unacceptable when they are not dealing with the underlying issues in this area. These kids behaved badly, with no evidence they are taking responsibility for their contribution in this altercation. This victim mentality for disrespectful minors will continue to erode the fabric of society if things do not change. On a final note, the off duty officer could have handled things differently but ultimately if the minors had not resisted, fought back and physically attacked this man, there would have been a different result altogether.

  14. First, recreational marijuana is legal in CA now. Second, if you do not like the foot traffic, why buy a house by three schools?. Third, disrespectfulness does not invite lethal force. Misdemeanors are not to be dealt with by guns. I do not believe Ferguson is the owner of the home. He seemed premeditated in his response for alleged obscenities. In the video, you can hear his father try to dissuade him by calling his name. Disrespectfulness, obscenities, trespassing, invoking terror, all of these is what Ferguson demonstrated in the street so hypocritically against a 13 year old. It’s not up to him to declare moral superiority. Ferguson will have to live with the consequences of his poor choices. Job loss, criminal
    charges, possible jail and bond, felonious account, mayhem in his neighborhood. I hope he finds solace in his time as super hero of Palais Dr.

    • You’re an idiot who obviously smokes dope and probably more. Get your head out of your door cloud and put the blame where it belongs – on the street thugs, regardless of their age.

    • Pot is not recreationally legal until January, 2018. No excuses for those kids’ disrespectful behavior!

      • California Penal Code Section 602 PC: Trespassing should be read as it pertains to the Palais incident and all living in California. Property owners have rights in regard to their property.

    • First, recreational marijuana is NOT legal for under-age minors!
      Second, you obviously didn’t read the story…most of these owners are the original owners, before the high density apt complexes / foot traffic was there. Also, before the skate park was there.
      Third, I’m going to stop now, because I know you didn’t read the story, and you obviously feel that there should be no consequences to actions, and are part of the problem with society today.

    • Recreational marijuana use by minors is not legal in California any more than underage drinking is.

    • You are clearly uninformed. Although legal, marijuana is not legal for minors. Also, it is not allowed to be ingested in a public place. The laws are no different from open containers of alcohol. I would love to see your reaction should someone continually disrespect you and your property that you work hard to maintain and keep. The Ferguson incident has nothing to to with this incident. He was a criminal that robbed and grabbed an officer’s gun. The media is to blame there and equally here for one sided reporting.

  15. Too much is being said. All a bunch of senseless jabber…. I hate cops, but, this guy was right. Respect my property or else. Kids these days are much too disrespectful and need a good beating, plain and simple. Let’s crack a few heads and let the chips fall where they may. Period.

  16. Anaheim has 400 officers and should have 900 at least. This statistic was from a very reputable source and based on a study done. They need help to be able to help us.

  17. Mary Lou Parsons

    If the government would stay out of the homes raising the children, spank their butts….maybe we wouldn’t have such hoodlums!
    It’s not child abuse to spank them when needed.

  18. WEST Anaheim has been neglected and this is the result.

  19. It’s really easy to be a “Monday morning quarterback,” and chastise this hard working, tax paying citizen who has chosen to be a cop and we should be thanking him for his service. While I appreciate the efforts of this reporter, his account needs more. Clearly, the folks who live on this street have had enough of this unacceptable behavior by these brats. More alarming is that the Mayor and AUHSD officials chose to ignore the concerns of the residents. We have created a generation of spoiled, entitled brats who don’t know the concepts of respect or accountability. This incident should be used as a teaching moment for the Mayor, school officials and PARENTS.

  20. Why not do an article on the CA Penal Code Section 602 PC: Trespassing? It would be informative for both sides of the Palais incident (and any CA homeowner) to know exactly what is legal and what is illegal. Moreover it would be a valuable lesson to be taught in all levels of school.

  21. These children are a product of their bad up bringing! The main kids mother is clearly a scumbag, who is not raising her son to be a respectful and productive young man. And his bialogocal father, also comes off as a scumbag! Judging that her new husband is also not being a man, and calling out this little brat, for the piss poor behavior, this kid doesn’t stand a chance…. if he doesn’t find a positive male rollmodel, and quick, this kid is destined to have more involvement with police….except those police will be on duty, and arresting this little deviant for the criminal activity that I’m sure he will be engaging in. And his scumbag mother has no one to blame but herself, her choice in men, for raising such a punk!
    She should be ashamed of herself for her demonstrable failure, in “parenting”! If she were a decent person, she would call a press conference and make her little devil apologize to the officer, his disabled father, Anaheim, and the rest of the neighborhood. But she’s scum, so she won’t! It’s ok, that kid is well on his way to being a scumbag, like the two fools that conceived him!
    Oh, and the LAPD, APD and Mayor of Anaheim, should all also apologize for what appears to be very wrong treatment of this officer, who was doing the right thing.
    I’m with the off duty police officer for standing up to thugs in our community!

  22. Furthermore…..Anaheim is Crap-hole, other than Disney……that’s why I moved out….. the Mayor and city government don’t care about the tax paying citizens….. just the scabs like this kid and his scumbag “parents”!

  23. Look it comes down to this . Back in the 80’s – 2005 parents were able to discipline their kids with a belt. And most homes were one income homeowners. Now through the help of these so called child physiologs stating if you discipline your child with a belt it will traumatized them and they will not succeed or when a kid does wrong just put them in time out and better yet allow their kid to “express them self ” when being discipline has lead kids to talking back to parents and because people have become so insistent on owning more than their budget causing both parents to wok and now you have unsupervised kids that do as they like. Do most of you out their realize if you as a parent discipline your child with a belt or your hand and leave a red mark on them you can be arrested for assault or better yet have child abuse charges against you. Kids know this and they use it to their advantage and thus comes the disrespect. We have been brain washed to be all touchy-feely with our kids and not instilled respect and discipline in the kids now days.

  24. Was he wrong to discharge his firearm?

    Only he can say what state of mind he was in at that moment when he was surrounded by a dozen strong, disrespectful young men. Who among the readership, have been in this same position?

    Discharging his gun probably saved this man a beating or worse.

    The mayor and his cohorts are myoptic.

    • Very good points RJ. I would not want to have to have the responsibility of a policeman on duty or off. They have a split second to make a judgment call that can have serious consequences. Tough job and tough position to have while being overworked and understaffed.

  25. Sad when the general public defends teens who are disrespectful period. When 6 ft teens outnumber an adult and continue to charge him. Engaging him to the altercation is sad. Let’s see this happen to those who defend the teens see what they would do in that situation when teens are ignorant and look where they are from

  26. I see that my comments were removed, presumably because they didn’t express the same sentiment as the rest of these people. I guess you don’t want to share the voice of a critic. How embarrassing.

  27. Nice Palm Lane: Apple core bong,vulgar and gang grafitti, and youth not in school skating at the park all while school kids play nearby on the grass.

  28. Palm Lane: see something, say something. City has already removed the graffiti from the benches, bong is gone!

  29. maureen Blackmun

    Excellant commentary. Too bad the city and media can’t do the same job. Also, no one mentioned that this incident came the day after Officer Keith Boyer was gunned down by a not-that-much-older individual. I felt horrible about it, and I’m not a police officer. Don’t tell me this wasn’t the straw that broke the camels back. Mayor Tait needs to stop trying to be all-things-to-all people and grow a…spine.

  30. Two car collision Palm Lane skate park leaving one car totaled. The bumper with plates just left on sidewalk to greet kids going to school in the morning.

  31. Great article!

  32. Yesterday, Palm Lane & Ball schools on lockdown after drug robbery.

  33. Palm Lane and Ball Jr. High locked as drug dispensary robbed at gunpoint. This is directly by the Palm Lane skate park that at nearly any time of the day you can see drug deals going down. This park is a known drug spot. If we allow this how can we expect our youth to be encouraged? If we allow this what does this say about us and our city? Now you can see what is happening in that neighborhood and why those living in it are so tired of it. Everyday. What is happening Anaheim?

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