A video has been released showing a Los Angeles police officer kicking, punching and elbowing a man lying on the ground during a 2014 arrest which led to a felony assault charge against the officer.
The three-minute recording was obtained by The Los Angeles Times under an order from a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. The video had been entered as evidence in the criminal case against the officer, Richard Garcia.
The surveillance video shows what has become a black eye on the LAPD. Clinton Alford had been stopped for suspicion of drug possession with intent to sell — a charge that was later dropped. The clip shows Garcia kicking Alford in his head, then kneeing him in the back and elbowing and punching him in the head, all in an attempt to arrest Alford near 55 th Street and Avalon Boulevard in South Los Angeles.
Garcia was charged with one count of assault under the color of authority. He worked out a plea bargain with the district attorney last May and will avoid jail time by agreeing to plead guilty to a misdemeanor that will give him two years of probation.
Alford's family spoke out on his behalf Monday as he awaits trial on assault and weapons charges in unrelated cases.
"I just thank the good lord they didn't kill my son," said Alford's mother, Valerie Washington. "Just to see what happened to my son, my baby, good lord. I know we all have children, what if that was one of your children?"
Alford's attorney, Caree Harper, believes the video that was released has been altered.
"If you look at some of the spaces where it jumps, look at the man in the red T-shirt how he comes into frame then suddenly disappears and in the video where it jumps. It somewhat speaks for itself," she said.
Harper is representing the family in re-filing a federal civil rights case that was put on hold while Garcia's criminal case moved forward. Harper says the family wants a new investigation into why additional officers at the scene that day did nothing to stop the actions of Garcia.
"The officers there had a duty to protect Mr. Alford as well," Harper said. "They stood there and watched."
Alford said he was riding his bike home when the LAPD officer tried to stop him at 55th Street and Avalon Boulevard. He said he feared for his life as he was being beaten.
"I was just praying to God that they wouldn't kill me. I felt that I was going to die," Alford said after the incident.
Alford ran away and alleges he was then chased down by officers, who used a Taser on him before punching and kicking him. The kicks were so violent that he blacked out and lost a filling. He alleges he did not resist.
"I remember being yanked off my bike and I remember being held down on the ground and multiple kicks to the head until I blacked out," Alford said. "I remember being tased in my back until I flop like a dead fish."