By We’Ced Youth Media
Image via Claudia Gonzalez
Editor’s Note: Last week, video surfaced of an altercation between an off-duty police officer and a 13-year -old boy in Anaheim. In the video, the officer can be seen dragging the boy for several hundred yards and firing his weapon into a crowd of middle-school aged youth, all without identifying himself as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department.
More on the story can be found here: http://www.colorlines.com/articles/protestors-demand-charges-lapd-officer-caught-tape-shooting-gun-near-teens
Below, our youth reporters react to the disturbing images seen in the video.
“This situation is pathetic. First of all, grass is part of the ground and it’s meant to be stepped on. He has no right to call a little girl [that slur] for stepping on his lawn. He should not kidnap and drag a 13-year-old kid down the block, pull out his gun, then shoot at the kid. Then after all of that, the kids are who get arrested — not the man. The man only got a leave [of absence]. He should be fired and put in jail. He should be charged with kidnapping, child endangerment, and possibly attempted murder. All this man got was a slap on the wrist, while the boy was nearly killed for defending his friend.”
-Layla Ornelas, 16
“My reaction to the video is astonishment. The officer was off duty, and to start, didn’t the police department have to restrain his gun? If that would have been me or my brother I would be very angry and sue the Los Angeles Police Department. The boy didn’t even break any private property laws of California; therefore, he shouldn’t have been treated like that and even worse the old man pulled a gun out at him. The federal government should get involved and investigate this case, because the old man is an off duty police officer.”
-Jesus Dominguez, 17
Above Image: A screenshot of the Anaheim and Los Angeles Police Department’s response on Twitter to public outcry over the actions of an off-duty LAPD officer last week.
“My thoughts about this video are that the man should have been arrested because of his actions towards a 13-year-old kid. We all have rights, and mostly kids who don’t know how to defend themselves shouldn’t be treated this way. The man does have the right to give his opinion, but he went too far by attacking the 13-year-old. [The kid] was just defending his friends and he didn’t want problems with anyone. I fear that this might happen soon in Merced, where there is no respect between people who see you different just because of the color of your skin. We are known for being the best country in the world, but with these problems, America’s reputation will go down and the place we once knew will not be the same anymore. I could not imagine one of my brothers or sisters getting treated that way, and seen different just because of the color of their skin color. Things are starting to change, people are starting to fear this world, and America will go down and not seem the same anymore.”
-Maria Dominguez, 16
“Feeling anger is such a foreign feeling to me but today, as I watched the video, I felt an anger that is very tangible; so tangible that I can feel it all the way in my bones. I am mad for his family, for his friends, I fear for my safety and for the safety of my little sisters and everyone in my family because now we are being publicly targeted for standing up.
In the midst of this political climate, things have gone from bad to worse. But, Christian’s actions are my spark of hope. For my dear woke brown people, we must continue to fight and persevere. This is the time to speak up and rise up in UNITY.
Events like this cannot go unnoticed. This is not only our fight, it’s the fight for our sisters, our brothers, OUR BEAUTIFUL minority who are the majority. This is a call to action to fight for equality for the people of color living oppressed. Communities who are not taught to stand up, but rather sit down by the same people who underfund their schools. Let’s make our voice heard, and [allow] our generation of brown/black people to be outside without fearing for their life.”
-Flor Aquino, 20
“The man who dares hold a gun towards a 13-year-old-boy, I call them mercenaries because they feel nothing [about] holding a gun to a young boy or girl. He’s just like any other mercenaries being taken down, put in jail to rot. Not only did he point the gun at the boy, but he also [took a] shot. He might be taught something by taking that action. He chose to pull out that gun. He choose to pull out that gun just as well that one boy who stood up for the girl and took out his gun. But that is not justice. That low life man may be an officer of the law, but he is not very good at his job. His actions just showed how he is, so he needs to learn that it is not human to have a gun pointed face-to-face with a 13-year-old boy who did the right thing in standing up for his friend. Bring him to jail, that’s justice for the boy, but it will never be enough.”
-Gabby Morales, 16
“This is completely unacceptable. He committed multiple crimes, and Christian was the one arrested?! I’m infuriated, it’s the same shit over and over again.
Los Angeles better have the police officer arrested and put in jail. The crimes he committed were serious. I don’t want to hear an apology from the Los Angeles Police Department saying ‘the officer is on administrative leave and blah blah blah’. The LAPD needs to take action.
A middle aged man with a gun shooting at a 13-year-old boy, and Christian was the one arrested? It’s insane, and it’s sad. We continue to take one step forward and multiple steps back. I’m over it. It’s getting old, real world. Stop messing around. Take action now.”
-Aaliyah Lannerd, 16
“It’s not okay that this man took out his gun, off duty, and shot at this little kid just for verbally defending his friend. This man should be fired and not be allowed to join any other related job. He should not be allowed any law enforcement position, even if it’s just sitting at a desk. I don’t think this type of thing would’ve happened if this little boy was fully white and not mixed.”
-Alice Herrera, 18
“After watching the video of a 13-year-old boy being assaulted by an off duty officer, it made me feel angry. No one has the right, whether it’s by an officer or not, to be held against their own will. Not only was the boy dragged, but also shot at. And the fact that the police didn’t give him an immediate response to help him and get him free from the man holding onto him is something really disturbing. As seen on video, the man with the weapon wasn’t even checked or patted down. The police officer was just talking to him decently. If it were someone else who didn’t have the “authority’ he had, or was a man of color, he would have been immediately tackled down and in many cases not only seen by just one officer, but many. The officer should have been arrested and the boy should have been treated like the victim he was.”
-Cassandra Avitia, 18
“I am very enraged after watching the video. This officer should have identified himself. I believe that this cop should go to jail and be punished for his inappropriate behavior. It was very inappropriate because he pulled out his weapon from his pants, fired at not only Christian, but at a bunch of other kids that were surrounding them. If it had been a color man, he would be dead. Anyone that doesn’t agree knows deep inside that this is very wrong.”
-Nisa Salazar, 18
“This is pathetic. How stupid can you be to do something like shoot at a group of unarmed 13-year-olds? And how are you going to arrest that kid and not the man who shot off his gun at them? That worthless little waste of space, disgrace to all officers of the law everywhere, should get fired. He should also be arrested for assaulting a minor and opening fire on a group of school children. It’s so dumb, like how are you going to attack a child for defending his friend after you insult her for stepping on your grass? It’s just grass, not a holy sight. Take a big step down from your high horse and realize how pathetic you are.”
-Victor Seguin, 18