The Los Angeles police officer who was caught on video kicking, punching, and elbowing a black man who was being held down on the street was sentenced to just two years probation Tuesday as part of a plea deal with prosecutors that has been criticized as being too lenient.
As I wrote on The Root, a probation officer recommended that Los Angeles Police Officer Richard Garcia spend a year in jail and serve three years of probation, and in a report that was made public Tuesday, described Garcia’s actions as “violent conduct that indicates a serious danger to society.”
In the deal Garcia, 36, made with prosecutors last year, he pleaded no contest to a felony charge of assault under color of authority, which carries a maximum sentence of three years behind bars.
The Times reports that the DA’s office gave Garcia the opportunity to avoid jail time and have his charge reduced to a misdemeanor in exchange for completing community service, following all laws, staying away from his victim and donating $500 to a charity by this week’s sentencing.
So basically, a slap on the wrist for beating a man while he was being held down by other officers. That’s not the kicker though:
Deputy Dist. Atty. Oscar Plascencia said in court Tuesday that when weighing how to resolve the assault charge against Garcia, prosecutors considered the fact that his victim had a criminal case which included charges of kidnapping and rape.
At the time the officers were attempting to stop the victim, it was because they were looking for a robbery suspect. They didn’t know who he was at the time they tackled him, held him down, and let their fellow officer beat the shit out of him as he lay prone and unable to move.
Furthermore, the victim was only convicted three weeks ago. That means that even if prosecutors did consider the fact that he had a case, he was only charged, and not convicted. What happened to the presumption of innocence?
This is a despicable miscarriage of justice.