SANTA ANA (FOX 11 / CNS) - Activists protested on Thursday over an announcement that an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer will not face charges for firing his gun during a conflict with a group of teenagers outside his Anaheim home last year.
The protest took place on the 1600 block of West Palais Road where the shooting happened last Feb. 21.
The activists are upset that Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas concluded that it could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Kevin Ferguson committed any crimes when he got into the confrontation with the teens, in which he fired his service revolver into the ground in what he said was a warning shot. The encounter, which was caught on cell phone videos, sparked several protests last year, including one that led to two dozen arrests and the vandalizing of a home that protesters mistakenly thought was Ferguson's residence.
``This happens all the time, there's a pattern of it -- the District Attorney waits almost a year to do a press conference and then they announce they're not guilty,'' said Naui Huitzilopochtli, who organized the protest.
``He takes out a gun, shoots a gun and nothing happens to this guy. He doesn't get fired or goes to jail,'' Huitzilopochtli said. ``It's just a pattern and we're sick of it ... Anybody else gets fired, but just because they're police they get away with it.''
Huitzilopochtli alleged authorities have a racist double standard of prosecuting ``a person of color'' for shooting a gun in such a manner, but not someone who is white, such as Ferguson.
Anaheim police Sgt. Daron Wyatt disagreed.
``Race had nothing to do with this,'' the sergeant said. ``It was an analysis according to the law.''
Michelle Van Der Linden of the Orange County District Attorney's Office said: ``The Orange County District Attorney's Office bears a legal and ethical obligation to file only those charges that are supported by the evidence that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury.''
Wyatt said police support such protests, but advised activists to keep it peaceful.
``Anaheim police support people's First Amendment rights, however, they need to express their opinions in a lawful manner,'' Wyatt said. ``Any acts of violence, vandalism or other violations of the law will be met with swift and immediate enforcement.''