Clinton Alford has contended that Los Angeles police beat him after stopping him while he was riding his bicycle last October. Now, because of a federal magistrate ruling, Alford and his attorney will get the raw video footage of the encounter, which will be a major factor in his civil rights violation lawsuit.
Officer Richard Garcia was charged by prosecutors last week with assaulting Alford under color of authority. Alford, the man being struck in the video, is suing the department, its chief and officers for violating his civil rights.
He said he was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk along Avalon Boulevard near 55th Street last October when officers attacked him. U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia G. Rosenberg directed the department to turn over footage from a security camera to Alford’s attorney, Caree Harper.
“A judge validated my client’s right to have a copy of the raw video footage of the brutal beating that included him being kicked and hit by members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Division,” Harper said. “I said six months ago that if Chief [Charlie] Beck were sincere about transparency he would have released the video then. He wouldn’t have made me compel the production of evidence showing what was done to my client.”
Under the order, Harper can pick up the video Wednesday, and a forensic expert can be present to examine it. A prior order forbids the public release of the video.
The Los Angeles Times interviewed police officials who saw the video of the arrest and they described it as “disturbing.” The sources said the video showed an officer kicking or stomping on Alford, and later hitting him repeatedly with his elbows in the head and upper body. Garcia, a 10-year LAPD veteran, has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charge. He has not worked in the field since the October incident. Three other officers and a sergeant who were also involved in the arrest remain out of the field and assigned to their homes, as internal affairs investigates. Beck said the other officers were “not nearly as culpable as Garcia.”
“My desire here is justice,” Beck told reporters. He added that releasing the video before the trial could sway the jury pool or “otherwise interfere” with the case.
“I know that there are other things that could be met by the release of the video,” Beck added. “But I want to get justice. And I think that’s what this city deserves.”
Last week, Beck said that after watching the video, he called the district attorney’s office and asked that it “not only look at this case but to file criminal charges. . . I was shocked by the content of the video.”