A disturbing video of an off-duty cop manhandling a teenage Latino in Anaheim, California sent shockwaves through the country. Now, people are rallying to support 13-year-old Christian Dorscht, the victim of this excessive force.
On Tuesday, Christian and his friends took their usual route home. According to Fusion, Christian was just a few minutes away from his house when a plainclothes officer swore at one of his friends for reportedly walking on the cop’s lawn. “My son defended her and said, ‘Don’t you talk to a lady like that,’” Johnny Dorscht, Christian’s dad, said. “That’s when the cop got mad and confronted my son, and threw him on the floor. The cop was choking him out. He got away, the cop pulled him back, and that’s when the video started.”
One of Christian’s companions recorded the incident, which showed the much bigger Los Angeles Police Department officer towering over Christian. The teen tells the unnamed man to let him go. “I didn’t do anything to hurt you, all I said was respect a girl,” Christian said. The cop replied, “You said you were going to shoot me.” Christian denied that. “I didn’t say that, I said I’m going to sue you,” Christian clarified.
Christian’s friends tried to intervene. One of them even punched the cop, who pulled out a gun and fired a shot. Because of the video’s angle, it’s difficult to see if the cop aimed at the ground or a person. The video cuts off before the viewer knows if anyone ended up injured. Subsequent reports found that everyone’s doing fine, though Christian had marks along his neck.
Police arrested Christian on assault and battery charges and a 15-year-old teen. According to Johnny, Anaheim police interrogated 17 teens on Tuesday. “He was in an interrogation room, they were trying to get him to confess to something that he didn’t do,” Johnny said, adding that his son couldn’t sleep since the event. “He’s still kind of in shock at everything that’s happening. He’s not really wanting to talk about the incident, he says he’s OK, but we did take him to the hospital.”
As the Chief of Police and the Board of Police Commissioners decide if the unnamed officer followed policies and procedures, the community is backing Christian. On Wednesday night, hundreds of protesters gathered around the officer’s home. CBS reports that it began peacefully, but that people eventually pelted the officer with rocks and bottles. Members of the crowd even incorrectly tagged the wrong house. Police arrested 24 people in total.
Where people have really showed up is on a crowdfunding campaign that Johnny began. Titled “Help Christian Be a Kid Again,” the father is raising $10,000 for legal fees. The family hasn’t decided what course of action to take yet, but they do have unexpected expenses to deal with now. “Christian is home safely but there are fees to be paid,” he wrote. “We appreciate all the help anybody can provide. We are trying to do right by Christian and see that justice is served. Any money that is raised and not needed will be donated to the local after school programs to help keep kids off the streets.”