ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — The off-duty officer who fired a shot into the ground during an altercation with a group of teenagers near his Anaheim home was publicly identified Monday by the Los Angeles Police Department as Kevin Ferguson.
The skirmish and gunfire was caught on cellphone video that has been widely circulated, contributing to protests that turned violent in Anaheim Wednesday night, resulting in nearly two dozen arrests.
Some demonstrators questioned why Anaheim police arrested two teens involved in the Tuesday afternoon confrontation, but the officer was not arrested.
“There was insufficient evidence at the time to prove the officer’s actions rose to the level of a criminal act,” Anaheim Police Department Chief Raul Quezada said.
Ferguson did not aim his weapon at anyone, but fired at the ground, Quezada said.
Cellphone videos of the confrontation and shooting were not available when Anaheim police initially responded and made the decision to arrest the teens, who were later released, Quezada said.
Quezada told reporters his officers interviewed everyone involved in the skirmish, and arrested a 13-year-old boy on suspicion of making criminal threats, with Ferguson contending that the teen had threatened to shoot him.
The boy said he told the off-duty officer he was going to “sue” him.
Another teen was arrested for allegedly assaulting the officer during the struggle. Quezada said the officer was interviewed and his weapon was seized.
Quezada said the investigation would ultimately be turned over to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for review, and although the officer was not arrested, “criminal charges could still be brought against any and all parties involved.”
Quezada added that the confrontation was the culmination of an ongoing dispute between the officer and teens who have repeatedly walked on his lawn.
A civil-rights attorney blasted the actions of the off-duty officer, and said he plans to file legal claims for damages against Anaheim and Los Angeles on behalf of a pair of teens who were present during the Tuesday afternoon scuffle.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing LAPD officers, defended the off-duty officer, saying he acted in self-defense.
Ferguson has been reassigned to a desk job, which is routine in an officer-involved shooting, according to the LAPD, whose Force Investigation Division is investigating and will review all video of the incident.
According to the LAPD, “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.”
Police monitored the officer’s neighborhood near Euclid Street and Palai Road for potential protests on Thursday night because of reports of small groups of juveniles roving the area but no arrests were reported.
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