Last Year’s “Lawngate” ends typically: No charges against reckless LA cop Kevin Ferguson.

 Powered by Max Banner Ads 




So, this morning Orange County’s worse-than-no-DA DA Tony Rackauckas, accompanied by prosecutor Ebrahim Baytieh, held a nearly apologetic press conference to a mostly incredulous audience, explaining why they felt they could not file charges against Anaheim-dwelling LA cop Kevin Ferguson for last February’s “Lawngate” incident.

I’m sure you all remember that incident:  For a long time, local school kids had been cutting across the corner lawn of this Ferguson and his Duck-Dynasty-looking dad;  a little before the incident Ferguson had (allegedly) called one of the schoolgirls a “c**t,” her 13-year old friend Christian Dorscht had stuck up for her telling Ferguson not to call her such nasty names; argument ensued during which Christian told Ferguson that he would SUE him, which Ferguson purported to hear as “SHOOT” him, Ferguson grabbed Christian – on a NEIGHBOR’S property! – tried to drag him back to his own and wouldn’t let him go; friends of Christian’s intervened eventually with pushing and punching, and Ferguson drew a gun and fired a shot, scattering everybody but still hanging on to Christian.  When the APD arrived (because the KIDS called them) they reacted by “detaining” Christian and his friends on unknown charges and taking Ferguson’s word as gospel.  A small riot erupted in the neighborhood that night.

Back to today’s press conference, where Prosecutor Baytieh admitted that Ferguson’s actions were wrong, irresponsible, and endangered the assembled youth… But they just couldn’t “prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that Ferguson had acted illegally, as they took him at his word that he’d misheard Christian as saying “I’m gonna SHOOT you,” and found him therefore justified in conducting a “citizen’s arrest” in self-defense although I don’t remember anybody ever hearing those words.  And they also found him justified in firing a “warning shot” in self-defense since one of the kids defending Christian had put his hand in his back pocket – actually putting away a pencil but paranoid Ferguson reacted in panic and “fired a warning shot” into the ground under a crowd of kids – perfectly justifiable!

Even doddering Tony Rackauckas, taking the podium later, admitted that as far as he could see none of the kids had done anything wrong, and suggested what I myself had suggested last year – if the kids bug you so much cutting across your lawn, put up a goddamned fence!  But of course firing a “warning shot” toward a crowd of teenagers based on something you SAW wrong AND something you HEARD wrong – no problem there, move along.

Really.  Or, rather,

You think any of us, who were not a white cop, and whose antagonists were not mostly minority youths, would have got away with such a “citizen’s arrest” of a minor, and such a reckless “warning shot?” I could go farther but what’s the point – imagine if the arrester/shooter were Latino or black (and NOT a secret cop), and the kid he was bullying was white and rich? HA!

A lot of us (including yours truly) suspected that Ferguson was drunk – angry on his day off, living with his ancient pops, PROBABLY divorced and troubled and overdue for retirement from the LAPD, and very much overreacting to things – you can even see his dad try to talk him down in one of the videos! But it wasn’t even worth asking if he’d been tested – the brotherly APD who showed up took him at his word and instead scooped up the innocent brown and black youths.

Don’t even glance at the comments section on the Facebook video below if you want to keep down your lunch. Apart from all the racism and classism, one common refrain is “Well, you shouldn’t attack a cop!” Of course, it was he who attacked them, AND nobody knew he was a cop – even when he spat that out late in the game nobody had any reason to believe him.  He was a big hulking scary adult manhandling one of their (actually very small) friends, and I think the kids who stepped in to defend Christian deserve some kind of public award for their courage.  But last I heard, the black kid was so traumatized by the whole thing that his family moved away from Anaheim, City of Kindness.

I do not know the status of Christian’s family’s civil rights lawsuit, or how this DA non-action impacts it or not. The Orange Juice Blog wishes him luck, and hopes for early retirement for Officer Ferguson.

Don’t for a second think we would have gotten more justice from DA candidate Todd “Armed and Unhinged” Spitzer – Todd says he would have been justified in using “deadly force” against the Christian proselytizer who irritated him at a Wahoo’s while supposedly glancing at a butter knife. And we will be gobsmacked but pleased if we get ANY kind of statement about this case from the third candidate Brett Murdock, who is showing up to my Anaheim Democratic Club March 3 for a long-overdue grilling.

Nelson out. Carry on!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.