Despite looming rain clouds, 30 protesters marched in Anaheim for Christian Dorscht, the 13-year-old confronted by Los Angeles Police Department officer Kevin Ferguson in now-infamous viral videos. They gathered outside Loara High School near the West Palais neighborhood where the incident happened in which Ferguson dragged Christian until another teen shoved him over a hedge. The off-duty cop then pulled a concealed gun, firing a single shot into the ground near the group of kids, one of whom allegedly stepped on his lawn.
"All we want is justice for Christian and for all of our children," said Jennifer Dorscht, Christopher's grandmother, who led the march. "[The officer] could have handled the matter completely different!"
Demonstrators marched down Euclid Avenue where they stopped at a major intersection rallying supportive honks along the way. The route continued towards Ball Junior High before walking through an apartment alleyway to get to Palm Lane Elementary. The stops were intentional, with Jennifer wanting to show symbolic support for all the children in the area.
Palm Lane Park, where Latino youth skateboard on ramps and soccer leagues host weekend games, is the only patch of land separating rows of apartments from the upper middle class neighborhood where the filmed fracas happened. Neighbors on the tract housing side have complained about the new skate park that Anaheim built with money donated from the Disneyland Resort. Ferguson's mother, Lorri, spoke out against the skate park citing a lack of amenities at city council last May.
"I have even had young people on more than one occasion knock on my door to ask if he or she could use my bathroom," Lorri told council in asking the skate park be moved elsewhere. "It may even increase the level of noise, trash, graffiti, street parking violations and petty crime that currently plagues this little area."
The peaceful march passed through Ferguson's home with demonstrators chanting "He should have grabbed his badge, not his gun!" without any incident. But when they reached the homes where the filmed fracas happened, a neighbor greeted them with an aluminum baseball bat in his front driveway. "He was a loud-mouthed little shit," Bat Baboso yelled. "You don't know shit!" The man's garage door had been vandalized with "Fuck Pigs!" in earlier, rowdier protests when his home was mistaken for Ferguson's.
"I do know something, that kid is my grandson!" Jennifer answered in the brief back-and-forth. "Somebody wants to challenge me, you're welcomed!" the resident sneered when people jeered him for bringing out a baseball bat. Is it any wonder this neighborhood swung for councilwoman Lucille Kring, the vilest bigot on Anaheim city council, during last November's election?
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When the protest ended back at Loara High School, Christian pulled up with his dad Johnny Dorscht. They brought boxes of Little Caesar's Pizza and bottled water out as a gesture of gratitude for all who marched on his behalf. After a series of hugs from loved ones, Christian grabbed the bull horn. "I'd like to thank everyone for coming and supporting me," he said shyly. "It means a lot to me."
Johnny arrived from his Buckeye, Arizona home on Friday to spend time with his son, doing normal family activities like going out to the movies."When I heard the news, I wasn't there for him," Johnny said, emotionally shaken. "I was there in spirit. I made the phone calls and everything happen. It's pretty sad he had to go through this, because no kid deserves this." The crowd responded with words of encouragement for him not to be too hard on himself.
Last month, Johnny supported his son telling the Weekly that Christian told Ferguson he was going to "sue," not "shoot" him. When Anaheim police arrived on scene, they arrested Christian for making a felony criminal threat while letting Ferguson go. The cop is back on desk duty after being on a standard 72-hour administrative leave. The LAPD is conducting its investigation while the Orange County District Attorney's office will decide on charges, if any.
"Justice means that Ferguson be charged for what he did," Jennifer told the Weekly. "This whole thing started with the off-duty officer. If he would have been an adult...none of this would have happened."