The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday approved a $500,000 settlement of a lawsuit filed by a man who was repeatedly kicked and punched by a police officer in an arrest captured on surveillance video.
Officer Richard Garcia pleaded no contest last year to a felony assault charge for his actions during the October 2014 arrest of Clinton Alford in South Los Angeles. After Garcia completed the terms of his plea agreement, the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor last week, with the officer never serving any jail time.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said in 2015 that he was “shocked by the content of the video” showing the arrest of the 22-year- old Alford near 55th Street and South Avalon Boulevard and encouraged the District Attorney’s Office to file criminal charges against Garcia.
Alford’s attorney, Caree Harper, criticized the handling of the criminal case, calling Garcia’s ultimate punishment a “slap on the wrist.”
In response to the lawsuit settlement approved Wednesday, Harper told City News Service: “This brings closure to a troubling incident that hopefully won’t be repeated in L.A. County and hopefully that officer won’t be on patrol any more.”
Officers said they arrested Alford because he matched the description of a robbery suspect.
After running from police, Alford surrendered but Garcia assaulted him while the suspect was on the ground. Surveillance video from a nearby business shows Alford was on the ground being restrained by other officers when Garcia kicked and stomped on him, then repeatedly struck him in the head and body.
Garcia is still employed by the LAPD, though he has remained at home, away from work, pending a disciplinary hearing.
The council on Wednesday also approved a $500,000 settlement of a lawsuit brought by Sergio Pina, who was shot multiple times by an LAPD officer on Feb. 2, 2013.
–City News Service
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