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Off-Duty LAPD Officer Who Fired Gun In Altercation With Teen Is Sued By Boy's Family

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An off-duty LAPD officer who fired his gun during an altercation with a 13-year-old boy in Anaheim last month has been sued by the boy's family, according to the OC Register.

The boy and several other teenagers were walking down West Palais Road when he decided to cross the lawn of Kevin Ferguson, an off-duty LAPD officer. This decision angered Ferguson, and the two exchanged profanities before Ferguson grabbed the boy by the collar and started dragging him across the lawn. Another teenager struck at Ferguson, and the officer drew his gun and fired a shot into the ground in response. No one was injured from the gunfire.

Two of the boys were arrested on suspicion of battery and criminal threats and have since been released. The Feb. 21 incident was filmed by the other teenagers who were present. The footage set off protests against the officer's actions.

The family filed a complaint on Feb. 28. It cites the traumatic experience of both the altercation and getting sent to juvenile hall. Ferguson's lawyer has said the off-duty officer feared for his life and thought the boy might have a weapon. Ferguson remains on-duty but is not working in the field, according to an LAPD spokesman. He has not been charged with any criminal activity. The Anaheim Police Department and LAPD are both conducting separate investigations into the incident.

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In response to the lawsuit, the Los Angeles Police Protective League issued a statement dismissing the suit as a shakedown. Their spokesman Dustin DeRollo said,

We hope that this lawsuit determines why multiple young adults chose to physically assault a police officer and what the parents of these young adults could have done to teach their children right from wrong.

While Ferguson's use of his weapon did not result in injury, his aggressive response and decision to shoot the gun struck the family and protestors as a disproportionately violent response to the event.