The latest demonstration of police misconduct and abuse under the color of authority is clearly seen on a video recently obtained by the Los Angeles Times by order of a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Had the Times not made the video public, the actions of Los Angeles Police Department Officer Richard Garcia may have escaped public scrutiny, to the detriment of Los Angeles residents and police officers who perform their duties with honor.
In the video, Garcia is seen kicking a man being held down by two other officers. Over the next 10 seconds, Garcia punches and elbows the man in the head and knees him in the back.
The other two officers move away, while Garcia continues to press his knee into the man’s back for two minutes, only stopping when other officers pick up and drag the handcuffed man to a patrol car.
It’s important to note that the man in the video, identified as Clifford Alford, Jr., was handcuffed as the abuse was administered.
The video was taken in 2014 but only just released because the court ordered the LAPD to make the video available to the media outlet.
The LAPD continues to fight efforts to require that videos involving arrests and alleged incidents of abuse by police be released to the public.
As the LAPD continues to step up its use of officers wearing cameras, we believe it’s time for the department to change its stance and make the video recordings available to the public. Doing so will promote greater transparency in the department’s dealings with the public, and help restore the public’s trust of officers who are supposed to protect them.
The amount of time the LAPD gets to review the videos before their release to the public should be kept to a minimum.
EGP believes that the charged atmosphere surrounding police arrests and officer-involved-shootings would likely not become so volatile and in some cases be de-escalated with greater transparency from the department, especially when there is a video available.
Giving Angelenos the opportunity to view actual video, rather than speculate what went down, will allow them to determine for themselves if a police officer’s actions were justified.
In our view, the majority of cops are upstanding and should not be thrown into the same barrel with the bad apples. However, in cases like that involving Officer Garcia, good cops must be more aggressive in stopping the types of abuses seen on the video, and those that occur out of sight of the camera lens, both for their own good and the good of the department.
The public needs to be assured that its police officers, and the LAPD hierarchy, especially Chief Beck, will not just turn a blind eye on the abusive actions of their fellow officers.Posted - Copyright © 2022 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.