An Indio man who allegedly threatened police online, then choked a police dog when officers tried to arrest him at his home, was ordered Monday to stand trial on several felony and misdemeanor counts, including making criminal threats and animal cruelty.
Robert Anthony Garcia, 22, is accused of posting photos of himself on Facebook posing with guns and making threats against police. He’s charged with eight felonies, including making criminal threats, resisting arrest and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, as well as a single misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.
On June 23, 2017, officers went to Garcia’s home in the 81000 block of Fred Waring Drive because he had applied to join the California Highway Patrol, and law enforcement was concerned that the alleged online threats might be carried out at a CHP event he was scheduled to attend on June 24, court documents state.
Police established a perimeter around Garcia’s home and he exited the residence but did not comply with police demands, officers testified during Monday’s preliminary hearing.
After approaching officers while reaching into his pocket, Garcia was struck with pepper balls to no effect, leading officers to release a police dog to subdue him.
Garcia allegedly wrestled with the dog and placed the animal in a chokehold. The dog, which did not sustain any serious injury, was freed after other officers detained Garcia, who was bitten on the arms and legs, according to court documents.
Garcia remains in custody at the Riverside County jail in Indio in lieu of $40,000 bail. He’s due back in court July 23 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment.