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Newly Surfaced Video Shows Officer Punching, Kicking Man In 2014 Arrest

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The L.A. Times has obtained a three-minute video showing a 2014 incident in which an officer assaulted a man who was being held down by police.

Clinton Alford Jr., then 22, was riding a bike along Avalon Boulevard near 55th Street in South L.A. when officers pulled up to him and commanded him to stop. Alford, who later claimed that the officers did not identify themselves as law enforcement, jumped off his bike and began running. Two officers ran after him and were able to subdue him to the ground.

The newly obtained video shows that Officer Richard Garcia then pulled up to the scene in a squad car. He ran out of his vehicle and immediately delivered a kick at Alford's head. He then proceeded to punch, knee, and elbow him. As this is happening two other officers were holding down Alford. Later, another officer would stand on top of Alford's ankles to keep him down.

Police Chief Beck would later say "that the force used was not reasonable, given Alford's limited and unapparent resistance." The Police Commission also agreed in saying that Garcia had violated department policy. Seven months later prosecutors charged him with assault.

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Garcia faced a felony assault charge that could have landed him in jail for up to three years. But, earlier this year, prosecutors agreed to a deal that would allow Garcia to enter a new plea to a misdemeanor charge that would replace the felony. He will avoid jail time as long as he completes community service and donates $500 to a charity by late May 2017. He will also be placed on two years probation.

Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has not given a reason why a new plea deal was offered. The Times notes that, in these cases, prosecutors take into account a wide range of factors, including the severity of the injuries inflicted, and past criminal charges against the victim. Alford faces charges for pimping and rape and assault with a deadly weapon. He pleaded not guilty and is currently in custody.

The video was used as evidence in court proceedings, but it was never released to the public. The LAPD has a history of keeping video footage under wraps, saying that a public release could hinder investigation, and that it could be an invasion of privacy for the people caught on camera. The Times, filing through the California Public Records Act, had requested the footage from the LAPD. The request was denied, but a L.A. County Superior Court judge later ordered that the Times be given the video.

A bill that is going to the governor's desk, AB 2611, may put further restrictions on the release of police footage. If signed, the bill will prohibit the release of any footage depicting an officer's death. A family member of the officer would have to authorize its release for it to be seen by the public.

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