The parents of a 13-year-old boy, who was recorded on video last month arguing with an off-duty LAPD officer, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officer for firing his gun near a group of children and having their son arrested under false pretenses. Although a 15-year-old boy managed to shove the officer backwards over a hedge, police officials are currently investigating the off-duty cop’s use of force in comparison to the department’s policies and procedures.
On February 21, off-duty LAPD Officer Kevin Ferguson had been standing outside his Anaheim home and drinking a beer when he noticed a group of teenagers walking along the sidewalk. According to the lawsuit, Ferguson was screaming profanities at a girl who began walking on his lawn.
Immediately standing up for the girl, Alma Jimenez and John Dorscht’s 13-year-old son threatened to sue Ferguson, but due to the boy’s speech impediment, the off-duty officer mistakenly thought the teen had threatened to “shoot” him. A bystander recorded a cell phone video of Ferguson tightly gripping the boy’s arms and sweatshirt as the 13-year-old asserted, “I didn’t say that! Why you lying? I said, ‘I’m going to sue you.’”
Before the cell phone video began recording the altercation, Ferguson allegedly tackled the boy, placed him in a headlock, and attempted to strike him in the groin according to the suit. Filed on February 28, the lawsuit accuses Ferguson of committing negligence, assault and battery, false imprisonment, and excessive force.
After briefly questioning Ferguson, Anaheim PD arrested the 13-year-old on suspicion of making criminal threats and battery. A 15-year-old boy accused of pushing Ferguson over the row of hedges was also arrested on suspicion of battery. Despite the fact that Ferguson discharged his weapon near a crowd of children in a residential neighborhood, the off-duty officer currently does not face any criminal charges.
Both the LAPD and Anaheim PD have launched separate investigations into the incident. Neither police department has been named as a defendant in the civil suit against Ferguson.
After viewing the video last month, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait stated, “Like many, I am deeply disturbed and frankly angered by what it shows. The video shows an adult wrestling with a 13-year-old kid and ultimately firing a gun… It should never have happened.”