On Tuesday, an off-duty LAPD officer fired his weapon during a confrontation with a 13-year-old Latino boy, Christian Dorscht, who had allegedly “walked on his lawn”. That was enough to set off a chain of events that could have left one child dead for simply being a teenager. As a parent, what would you do if Christian Dorscht were your child?
Apparently, kids walking on the man’s lawn has been ongoing for some time now. I know, what a nuisance. I get it. You take care of your lawn, you don’t want a bunch of kids trampling your grass. But be a normal human being, go outside and ask them to get off your lawn. Put up a fence. Hell, call the cops. Don’t start fighting with a group of kids.
What you shouldn’t do is call a teenaged girl a “C*nt” or manhandle and rough up a 13-year-old child because he spoke up and said that’s not the way you should speak to a lady. And you most definitely should not pull a gun on an unarmed teenager for walking on your grass.
Let me play devil’s advocate, even if Christian Dorscht was a super jerk, dancing on the man’s grass and yelling God knows what, even if that kid was the biggest a**hole on the planet, it’s not okay to grab a 13-year-old by the collar and pull him around the neighborhood, pull him through the bushes and shoot at him. Unless Christian Dorscht pulled a gun on the off-duty officer, there was no reason that his weapon should have ever been drawn and, as a cop, he should have known that better than anyone.
The boy in the video told a local LA news outlet his side of the story:
“I said, ‘Hey, that’s not how you treat a lady,’” the boy said. “And then he came at me. … He hit me. I ran to the street to run away from him, and he got me. He tried to trip me and then he kicked me in my testicles.”
The boy again said he told the officer he was going to “sue him,” not “shoot” him.
I’ve seen the video and what I heard was “sue’ with a Chicano accent but I’ve grown up hearing that accent so maybe the grown man holding the child misunderstood? Of course, if the off-duty cop lives and works in the area, he too should be familiar with that accent.
But the cell phone footage of the incident sure sounds like “sue” to me. The footage, shot in broad daylight, shows the officer holding the boy by the sweatshirt as a group of teens gather to watch. “They’re grabbing a minor,” a girl says, as the boy in question protests. I would imagine the kid was scared because a grown man was dragging him to his house and not letting go.
Two teen bystanders attempted to tackle the man to free their friend when the man was trying to pull the kid through the bushes to get to his house. As the teens charge to free their friend, the man pulls a gun from his waistband and discharges his weapon into the crowd. The crowd disperses.
Luckily, the child was not shot but anyone of those several kids watching could have been. The kid he was holding could have been shot point blank. Or an unsuspecting neighbor in their house in that residential area. None of this was okay.
The cops arrived and the boy was put on the ground, the group of teens was sat on the curb to await questioning and the shooter was gently walked back to his yard by an officer and asked for his side of the story, according to the video. Membership really does have its privileges.
Why was the shooter not immediately subdued and arrested? Was it because he was an off-duty cop? Was it because he was Caucasian? Or was it simply because he was an adult and they were a group of teens? I don’t know. I have my theories.
What I do know is that none of it was okay. Assaulting and manhandling, even the mouthiest teenagers, simply for walking on your grass because your job gives you the authority to do so during business hours seems like an abuse of power.
This was a situation that went horribly wrong and could have gone even worse had the bullet hit its mark. As a parent, I am outraged. As a Latino, I am not even surprised. But I can tell you this, if it were my child in that video, just like any of you, I would be demanding this man’s badge because he was wrong and he is dangerous.
Maybe he was scared of the group. Maybe he was angry. Maybe he was just tired of telling people to stay off his yard or having a bad day. Or maybe he just thought that he had the right to do this. Any way you slice it, it was wrong.
To make matters worse, the Anaheim Police Department posted the following on Facebook:
The Anaheim Police Department is aware of the numerous videos posted on YouTube regarding yesterday’s Officer Involved Shooting involving an off-duty LAPD officer. The Anaheim Police Department Homicide Detail is investigating the incident and the case will be presented to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office when complete.
Calling and sending emails to APD voicing your displeasure will NOT impact the outcome. A decision whether or not to file charges rests with the District Attorney’s office and is based on facts and evidence.
Protests began Wednesday night at the intersection near where the incident took place, calling for charges to be filed against the officer in question.
Just so you know, I respect police officers. They put their life on the line every day to protect and serve their community. But who was this serving? Pulling a gun on a kid, dragging him around the neighborhood by the shirt just because you think you can is wrong.
As a mom, I am foaming at the mouth because he could have very easily killed this Christian Dorscht, or anyone of the group of children gathered around. Yes, they are children because they are minors and as adults we are supposed to be sources of safety.