ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2018) — Anaheim is reliving the unfortunate events of Feb. 21, 2017, when a dispute between an off-duty Los Angeles Police officer and neighborhood kids needlessly escalated into fighting and gunfire.
Now, a year later, inspiration is being drawn from the actions of neighborhood kids in the days after.
While some came to West Palais Road immediately after seeking to lash out, on the following Saturday the situation was more positive.
About 100 kids from Anaheim high schools and other volunteers from Love Anaheim came to help clean up the neighborhood’s Palm Lane Park and show the traumatized street some much-needed love and appreciation.
“This is the Anaheim I know,” said Mayor Tom Tait, who was on hand that day helping kids plant trees, spread woodchips and pick up trash around the park. “It was a community coming together to move past a difficult time with empathy and kindness.”
The events of February 2017 were revived on Wednesday when an investigation by the Orange County District Attorney determined that the off-duty LAPD officer’s actions were unwise, immature and endangered public safety, but they were unlikely to be found illegal by a jury and no charges were filed.
A year ago, video of the incident angered many, with some sadly turning to vandalism on Palais, impacting many who had nothing to do with what happened on their street that day.
“The events of Feb. 21, 2017, should never have happened in our city,” Tait said. “But the response to it can never be more of the same — two wrongs never make a right. That is just as true today as we again chart a course to move past this.”
Anaheim encourages everyone to respond to this week’s events the same way the neighborhood kids did a year ago, by taking positive action in our community.
“We should all be compelled to counter this with positive action in our community,” Tait said. “Consider volunteering with community groups such as Love Anaheim or a cause near to you. As a city, we will always face challenges. Rather than let them get the worst of us, we can use them to build a stronger Anaheim.”