LAPD Officer Charged with Assault in Videotaped Beating

© Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg The Los Angles Police Department headquarters stands in Los Angeles, California, March 14, 2013.
© Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg The Los Angles Police Department headquarters stands in Los Angeles, California, March 14, 2013.

A Los Angeles Police Department officer has been charged in connection with a videotaped incident in which a man alleged he was beaten and kicked while being held down by other officers in South L.A., authorities said Monday.

Officer Richard Garcia was charged with one count of assault under the color of authority in connection with the Oct. 16, 2014, arrest of Clinton Alford Jr., said Deputy Dist. Atty. Oscar Plascencia.

Several police officials who saw footage of the alleged assault captured by a private security camera previously told The Times that an officer kicked the man’s head, with one source saying the move resembled “a football player kicking a field goal.” Another source who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the probe was ongoing said that an analysis of the video showed that Alford’s shoulder was kicked during the incident, not his head.

Alford has filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the officers involved, alleging he was not resisting at the time he was struck. The 22-year-old was initially arrested on suspicion of drug possession and resisting arrest, but prosecutors later declined to pursue the charges.

Garcia, 34, pleaded not guilty to the charge in a downtown L.A. courtroom on Monday afternoon. If convicted, prosecutors said, he faces up to three years in County Jail.

Alford had surrendered to police, but Garcia “allegedly went on to assault the man while he was laying prone on the ground,” according to a statement from the district attorney’s office.

Garcia has been placed on administrative leave, prosecutors said. The incident remains under investigation.

Garcia’s attorney, Robert Rico, declined to comment on the charge against his client. Rico said he had not seen the video of the incident, though he said his client has.

Superior Court Judge Sergio Tapia II rejected Rico’s request to release Garcia on his own recognizance. The judge set the officer’s bail at $35,000, and Garcia was allowed to remain in the courtroom until the bail was posted.

Garcia is expected to appear in court next on June 1.

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Source: Los Angeles Times | Richard Winton

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