Convicted of assault under color of authority after caught on video beating a handcuffed man without provocation, LAPD Officer Richard Garcia was sentenced Tuesday to probation and community service in accordance to his plea agreement. Although Garcia remains on the force pending a disciplinary hearing, the officer has not returned to active duty.
On October 16, 2014, Clinton Alford Jr. was riding his bicycle home in South Los Angeles when a car pulled up behind him with the driver ordering him to stop. According to Alford, the driver failed to identify himself as a police officer as Alford continued pedaling.
Feeling someone grab the back of his bike, Alford instantly leaped off the bicycle and fled. Recorded on a nearby surveillance camera, Alford ran down the sidewalk before ducking between two parked vehicles.
Sprinting into the street, Alford immediately slowed down and appeared to surrender as one of the pursuing officers struck him with a baton. Lying on the ground with two officers restraining him and a third officer aiming a Taser at him, Alford did not seem to be resisting when Garcia suddenly exited his patrol car and viciously kicked him in the head.
Despite the fact that two other officers were restraining Alford, Garcia repeatedly kneed him in the back, punched him in the face, and dropped elbows onto the back of his head. Driving his knee into Alford’s back for more than two minutes, Garcia never appeared to fear for his life while beating the subdued man and manhandling his motionless body. After losing consciousness and a filling during the assault, Alford’s limp body was carried into the back of patrol car by the callous officers. When the cops finally noticed the security camera on a nearby building pointed at them, Garcia incessantly knocked on the door of the building until an employee eventually opened it and allowed them to view the recorded video.
Charged with a felony count of assault under the color of authority, Garcia faced a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Reaching a plea agreement with the prosecution last August, Garcia pled no contest in exchange for serving 300 hours of community service and two years of probation instead of a jail sentence. Under the terms of his plea bargain, Garcia also agreed to donate $500 to a charity before his current hearing.
On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge William Sterling accepted the deal and reduced Garcia’s felony count to a misdemeanor assault charge. Currently employed by the LAPD, Garcia remains off-duty pending a disciplinary hearing.
According to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Garcia no longer receives paychecks from the department and could face termination.