The city of Los Angeles may be close to settling a lawsuit brought by a man kicked and punched during a videotaped arrest in October 2014 and resulted in a felony conviction against a police officer, according to new documents.
Officer Richard Garcia was harshly criticized by Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and the Board of Police Commissioners for his actions during the arrest of Clinton Alford in October 2014.
Beck said in 2015 that he was “shocked by the content of the video” showing the arrest of the 22-year-old man near 55th Street and South Avalon Boulevard and encouraged the district attorney’s office to press criminal charges against Garcia.
Documents released Friday show the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee is scheduled to discuss Alford’s federal lawsuit against the LAPD in a closed session with legal counsel on Monday, which is often a sign that the city is close to reaching a settlement, although the city attorney’s office will not comment on the details of closed sessions.
The city’s Claims Board, which is made up of Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Herb Wesson and City Attorney Mike Feuer, or their designees, also met on April 3 to discuss a potential settlement in case.
Caree Harper, an attorney for Alford, did not immediately reply to a request to comment.
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 of 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.
Under a plea agreement reached with prosecutors in 2016, Garcia pleaded no contest to a felony charge of assault under the color of authority, but would be able to avoid jail time if he completed community service and donated $500 to a charity by late May 2017, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The deal also said that Garcia would then be allowed to enter a new plea to a misdemeanor charge that would replace the felony and he would be placed on two years of probation.
Alfred was facing multiple charges at the time of Garcia’s sentencing for charges including pimping, rape and assault with a deadly weapon, which may have impacted Garcia’s sentencing, The Times reported.
The Times also reported in August that Garcia was still employed by the department but was awaiting a Board of Rights hearing, where a three-person panel decides disciplinary cases for officers facing termination or long suspensions.
The LAPD Media Relations Section confirmed Garcia is still employed by the department.
–City News Service