The Off-Duty Officer and the Kid

This video has been all over my Facebook feed. The kid is screaming all sorts of “I didn’t do nothing!” stuff while his friends record it with a cell phone. Finally, one of the kids’ friends shoves the officer and knocks him over a bush. The kids then start to surround the off-duty officer who pulls out a gun and fires it. Here is what the LA Times writes about the story: 300 protest in Anaheim after videos show off-duty LAPD officer firing gun in dispute with teens. It looks like this incident was a result of “ongoing issues” with the group of teens walking across the officer’s property.

I’m a big believer in letting cases like this play out in the courts. I’m sure there’s a lot that we don’t see in the video. But it’s clear to me that that off-duty cop was about to get his ass kicked. He had already been bum-rushed and knocked down, and the kids were beginning to surround him, and my gut tells me that this is legitimate self-defense. I don’t know about the legality of firing a gun, but if you watch the video, that gunshot most definitely saved him from a hard ass-whooping where he was outnumbered. As a homeowner, I’d also be pissed if people disrespected my property line. As someone who follows the news, I’m also aware of how Black Lives Matter has created a new generation of petty criminals crying discrimination and abuse, even with criminals who aren’t Black. It looks to me like the officer was simply trying to detain the kid; he wasn’t beating him up, choking him out, or doing anything that was inflicting harm on the kid. The cop didn’t draw his gun until he was physically assaulted by one of the kids in the mob. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do if kids go tramping across your property; it would seem to me that this guy did what he was supposed to do. Kids will be kids, of course. Incidents like this undoubtedly took place even before Black Lives Matter. But there’s the practical question of what a homeowner is supposed to do.

I guess we’ll wait and see.

14 thoughts on “The Off-Duty Officer and the Kid

  1. Kids throwing a punch and shoving were clearly over the line. Firing a gun in self defense, I could see that more clearly if he hadn’t been so adamant on not letting go of that boy.

    I could not listen to the audio, though. Was he making an official arrest?On the other hand, off-duty cops can still detain you: https://www.quora.com/If-an-off-duty-cop-witnesses-a-crime-can-he-apprehend-the-criminals. I did not know that, so in that case the law might be on his side, and it might explain why he felt justified in holding on to the alleged perp.

    If he wasn’t officially making an arrest, I have to question the wisdom of what he was doing, and whether it was worth the escalation that led to a gun being drawn. It would have probably be more sane and wiser to capture video evidence of what the kid was doing, and proceed from there– if he wasn’t officially arresting him.

  2. I’m a big believer in letting cases like this play out in the courts.

    Unless the cop is Asian, that almost never happens. The police department “investigates” itself, meaning nothing ever happens. The district attorney works for the police, so the courts are rigged in favor of officers. For that reason, while almost every civilian brought before a grand jury gets indicted, almost every cop brought before a grand jury does not. Grand juries are closed to the press and only have a prosecution team, aka the DA, meaning they present slanted “evidence” to deceive the juries into never thinking cops are indictable. The fact that the kids were arrested but not the cop just proves the point that the legal system favors police in all cases.

    Aside from all that, I would ask a lawyer what the legality of an officer firing a warning shot is. And it goes without saying that the kids share some blame for escalating the situation so it’s not like I feel sympathetic towards them.

  3. Notty,

    I’d be really interested in the legal questions here.

    On the Colin Flaherty channel, there was a case of an old woman who was having rocks thrown at her house every day. It was young kids, probably the same age as the kids in the OP. She called the police several times, but by the time the cops got there, the kids were long gone. Finally, the cops got tired of her calls and just told her to deal with it herself.

    Unfortunately, she did. She wasn’t big and strong like the off-duty cop, so one day she got a gun and shot one of the kids who was throwing rocks.

    I think we can all agree that the situation in the OP had a better ending than the old lady’s story. Even though I would agree that what the old lady did was wrong, I’m not sure what she was supposed to do. It would seem to me like the off-duty cop pretty much handled it properly, although we’d need a lawyer/judge to determine that.

    I wonder about stuff like this. A few years ago, I caught some dude trying to sneak away after his dog took a shit on my driveway. I yelled at him, and he argued, “But I don’t have a bag!” I told him to go home and get one. He finally found a bag (it was in his wife’s pocket) and cleaned it up, but what would I have done if he hadn’t? Keep in mind that having a dog shit on one’s driveway isn’t really that big of a deal. I wouldn’t have done anything physical for something small like that (though the shit was quite large). But if a group of teens was stomping across my lawn every day or throwing rocks at my house, it would be a bigger deal. You can’t really call the cops because they’re not going to get there in time. It would seem that unless you physically restrain the trespasser, you don’t really have many other options other than maybe taking video. But even that’s hard too, since the burden would be on the cops and schools to find out who the kids are.

    Kiwi:

    The fact that the kids were arrested but not the cop just proves the point that the legal system favors police in all cases.

    Well, what would you do if you were the cop?

  4. No, I get you. It’s one of those relatively small things that can build up. From what I understand from watching the news, the teen was walking across his lawn or something. That could be very frustrating to deal with repeatedly, especially with a punk ass kid who is disrespectful.

    It’s one thing to yell at some dickhead and quite another to let it escalate into violence. Then have more knuckleheads coming to your neighborhood to protest and destroy private property in anger (saw that in the news report too).

    Just not the wisest thing to do when there are actual legal options: http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2015/03/if-a-neighbors-dog-poops-in-your-yard-can-you-sue.html and more to the point: http://www.rotlaw.com/legal-library/what-is-trespass/ Even going to Judge Judy is preferable!

    The only question I have in this case is whether the off duty officer was making an arrest. I don’t think that has been clarified anywhere.

  5. Oh man! That looks like a lot of work for just a piece of poop! Yes, Judge Judy would be preferable!

    By the way, I just saw this:

    https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/133.225

    So in Oregon, if someone did any of the stuff that we just mentioned, you actually could use physical force if you needed to detain someone who was trying to escape. It’s for a citizen’s arrest, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a cop or not.

    FYI, there was a case a few years back in Oregon where a dude warned kids not to cross through his backyard. He eventually got a gun and shot at them, and he was arrested because you can’t shoot a person passing through your yard. The news reporters talked about this. They said that according to the law, you can shoot a person passing through your house (breaking and entering), but not your yard (simple trespass).

  6. I should mention, of course, to anyone who reads this and may be getting ideas, that even if it’s legal to shoot someone in your house, you should avoid it if you can. You don’t want that hanging over your head for the rest of your life.

  7. Yeah that’s why Trump got elected, because of shit like this. They come over here to have a bunch of kids, they don’t teach their kids and we pay for those kids, just so they grow up to be a burden to society and do shit like this. He should have shot the kid dead. It should be legal to shoot anybody trespassing your property after a few clear warnings. If the cops can’t get there fast enough, meaning the cops can’t protect the people, the people have the right to take matters into their own hands. California is becoming a shithole. White people should just all leave california, I’m sure the state will decay into shit after a few years without any white people.

  8. Kyrie,

    1. You’re not being very entertaining.
    2. Please try to think about what you’ve written before you post. There are real people reading this, and words have consequences.

  9. This officer failed to control the crowd and to make a proper arrest from the beginning. It started as a confrontation and then it continued as a power struggle. The liberals are maybe thinking, if he got pushed over the hedge like that, “Whitey” should have just let go and absorb the “ownage” and the mockery, because they’re immature like that. He should have “let go of his privilege”. It sure beats drawing a gun and shooting people dead over something like this.

    They are right in some ways.

    We don’t even know if the kid he restrained is the same kid who always stepped on his lawn, or just one among a dozen of them who got caught on a wrong day, because peer groups have taken over the role of manners taught by society and parentage.

    This officer wasn’t ever in any danger, but who could say that with absolute certainty just because he was carrying a gun, and any lapse would mean the potential loss of the gun and the harm that follows. If he weren’t carrying his gun, he would have come to no harm except to ephemeral pride. Because he was carrying, it is a different matter.

    If you carry, you ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT put yourself in harm’s way. It’s no use defaulting back to training at the very end. If you carry and you put yourself in harm’s way you have already made the world that little bit more dangerous.

    ====

    If this were an ordinary fight, I would say, he was in no danger of getting any ass whooping. Most of the kids there were half his age. He was never in any real danger. He would have shrugged them off like they were monkeys. A punch from a teen will hurt but a punch from an adult will shake them to the core. The only one who could have presented danger was the hero black kid. That black kid stepped up to be a hero, and he threw the punch when he sensed weakness not when he was threatened, but all the same, he was not committed, and as soon as his goals were achieved he would have backed off. That black kid was vacillating between committing and achieving the objective with the least danger and violence, even though he had committed to physical action. If the officer had let go of the kid he was restraining, that kid’s friends, the passerby’s and the hero black kid would have left it at that.

    There isn’t a formula to predicting threat or danger. You have to be able to read the situation and the actors, as it happens.

    But all of this comes from my keyboard jockeying the video.

    The whole problem came down to this officer escalating from a confrontation, not an arrest. You can’t just fall back on training at the very end but not at the beginning. Where were his attempts to assert authority over the suspect and the crowd? Do you think, showing his badge and telling them this is an arrest would have helped? Do you think, after going through all that effort of single-handedly pulling the kid out of the crowd he should have asserted himself and not let the crowd crowd him back? Shout at them, go drill sergeant, don’t mutter and let the kid do all the talking. What about the odds against you? I thought I heard people say you need a minimum of two officers to control a single suspect. I thought I heard people say you need THREE officers for every single suspect that needs to be controlled. Why did this officer think he could confront and then escalate the situation, but without making clear this was an arrest?

    Take out the badge, say this is an arrest, bring this out of the realm of just a personal confrontation where in America people believe it’s something that can be settled with the strongest fist, because that’s how it’s practiced.

  10. What a homeowner could do versus what a firearms carrying officer should do are two different questions. I think the common thread in both situations is that both homeowner or off duty officer should use judgement to prevent more harm from occurring.

    The problem here is the assumption that laws and law enforcement or ideals of norms by themselves can enforce norms of behavior.

    Such a system works in villages and towns where everybody knows everybody and nobody goes anywhere, but no longer works in even in the twentieth century because of our economic models and the role of people in it.

    There are no more bonds or common understandings. There are rules but the rules are up for arbitration with every party that has the strength to re-negotiate. It’s not a situation unique to America. Every part of the modern world has experienced this by now. Capital allows you to live anywhere you can afford… but not necessarily where you best fit.

    What can a homeowner do? Firstly, he will need to put up fences and barriers to his lawn or back yard, as far as is possible. Make it inconvenient for people to step on his lawn, and you will find they will step the easier way. You filter out 90% of the foot traffic this way. Perhaps the only thing remaining is that your ideal of the free unmolested lawn is unsatisfied. Can you live with the idea of a lawn with a fence enclosing your lawn, or does your municipality even allow this?

    What about bigger questions of teenage delinquency and property damage such as being targeted for broken windows? The first principle is to never fight for your rights alone. Never fight as just another homeowner and sole victim in a community of a thousand homes. Do your best to fight with power and morality on your side to quell the delinquents. If you don’t have such resources then fight dirty but never alone. For all that they do these delinquents are still mere children. They only test you in how far you have grown up.

  11. Teens can be very dangerous, sometimes much more so than adults because their judgement is off. Many teens are bigger and stronger than adults, especially once they hit 16.

    The cop should have probably just went inside and called other cops instead of holding on to the kid. But I know so little about the background of what went down that I can’t really comment. But it’s obvious that the gun shot was merely to scare the jackals away. It would have been hard to miss that shot.

    This cop will have to sell his house now. They will probably burn it down or do some other crazy shit.

  12. Bruccc:

    I agree with you. That cop probably could’ve handled things differently, but all in all, it looks like the teens were the instigators. The sad thing is that the community is standing behind the teen’s wrongdoing. It’s like Michael Brown.

    The cop is definitely going to have to move. It’s good that the police department is doing the right thing, but I don’t think it’s enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *