L.A.’s DA Allows Cop to Quietly Plead to Lesser Charge in Recorded Beating of Black Man

We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).

Bad 🍏 Report

If you can pull yourself from the drama that is former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, we have an update for you in the case of Los Angeles Police Officer—or soon to be former Officer Richard Garcia.

When last we spoke about Officer Richard Garcia, I detailed for you how then 22-year-old Clinton Alford was allegedly riding his bike on Avalon Boulevard near 55th Street in South Los Angeles when undercover detectives approached him.  He thought he was being jacked for his bike and so he took off running.  The chase was on from there but Alford didn’t get very far because I’m told one officer managed to use his baton (in a very questionable way) to take him down in a most heinous fashion. As a couple of more officers joined in the fray, another officer rolled up, jumped out the car and kicked Alford right in the head as if he was kicking a field goal for the score. Alford continued to receive punches to his head, body blows by an officer using his elbow, all while he was lying motionless on the ground.

That officer was Newton Division’s own Richard Garcia who at the time was a ten-year veteran of the Department working in the Parole Compliance Unit. He allegedly hasn’t worked in the field since the incident became public. We’ll come back to this later.

With much fanfare, in April 2015, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced filing felony assault under the color of authority criminal charges on Garcia, charges that could have resulted in three years in prison for Garcia. Could have. (People v. Richard Garcia, BA435794)

What D.A. Lacey didn’t come back and tell the good people of Los Angeles was that on May 26, 2016 her office allowed Garcia to quietly plead to one felony count of PC 149 (assault under color of authority) with his sentencing stayed for one year so that he could complete 300 hours of community service and make a donation to an organization that services victims of crime or a similar organization. At the end of that year, Garcia will be allowed to withdraw his plea, plead to a misdemeanor count of PC 149 and be placed on two years probation. Garcia is also ordered to stay away from his victim Mr. Alford and remain free of any new arrests or convictions during this time period.

If Garcia fails to comply he will be sentenced to the felony violation of PC 149 which is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or both.

Side note.  This is the same District Attorney who refused to offer Black Lives Matter activist Jasmine Abdullah, who was charged with felony attempted lynching, the same opportunity leaving her stuck with a felony conviction unless it’s overturned on appeal. I’m just saying.

Lacey didn’t hold a press conference or send out the town’s heralds to announce any of this. Shady. Nor did she make resignation a mandatory part of Garcia’s sentencing. Also shady.

Alford’s attorney Caree Harper told me, “L.A. Deputy DA Oscar Plescencia worked very close with Mr. Garcia’s attorney and did not make attempts to keep us in the loop with the case.  The sentencing has been dragged out to allow Mr. Garcia time to complete terms of his plea deal so that he can withdraw the felony guilty plea and enter a plea to a misdemeanor lesser charge at that time.  A misdemeanor allows him to keep his job. A convicted felon should not be allowed to keep his position as an officer at the LAPD regardless if he earns a misdemeanor or not, and Chief Beck should see to it.”

Speaking of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. I’m told that Garcia is headed for a board of rights disciplinary hearing where he will be judged for his actions by two command officers and one civilian. As Beck has said before, he only send officers to board of rights hearings he wants to see terminated. So for those who care to make sure this bad apple never returns to the field as a sworn Los Angeles police officer—there’s hope.

Still, if Beck and Lacey wanted to send the message that they meant business in weeding out the bad apples they would have made resignation a mandatory part of Garcia plea deal.

But it’s not over yet. What about that video?

The Los Angeles Police Commission has since sided with Beck and found that Garcia and a second officer violated the Department’s use of force policies during the Oct. 16 arrest. Remember, there was more than one officer involved in the Alford incident.

Quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Beck said he had viewed the video of the incident and concluded “that the force used was not reasonable, given Alford’s limited and unapparent resistance,” according to the report.

Alford via his attorney Caree Harper is suing the Department for violating his civil rights—as he should.

Both Beck, D.A. Lacey’s office and the City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office worked overtime to make sure that the video has never been made public.

According to the Times, Beck put the hiding of the video from the public off on D.A. Lacey saying she “has been very, very clear that she does not want that video out there.” Releasing the footage before the officer’s trial, Beck said, could taint the jury pool or “otherwise interfere” with the case.

“My desire here is justice,” Beck told reporters. “I know that there are other things that could be met by the release of the video…. But I want to get justice. And I think that’s what this city deserves.”

Well the case is OVER pretrial. Garcia pled, was convicted and has now been sentenced. Release the damn video.

The City of Los Angeles needs to get out of the business of trying to hide the evidence of abuse and misconduct committed by police officers. It didn’t work too well for Chicago and it’s what feeds the constant suspicion and mistrust of the police from the community they serve. According to Beck and Lacey’s logic, now that Garcia’s case is pretty much over, that video should be made public.

Oh so you can see the video but the public who foots the bill for all of the lawsuits that arise from the conduct carried out on the video can’t? GTFOH.

We’ll keep you posted on the state of the Alford video as his attorney Caree Harper is working feverishly to get it released to the public. As she should.

Lacey, meanwhile, breezed through her reelection last June running unopposed subsequently wining without the need to campaign or have a November runoff.

Questions, comments or concerns?

Oscar Plascencia
Deputy District Attorney
(213) 974-5054
(213) 974-3888



The Court of Public Opinion

  • The American

    Well maybe its time for the Feds Loretta Lynch to pursue a Federal Civil Rights case against Rich Garcia on behalf of Clinton Alford. However, the recent events in Baltimore should serve as evidence how difficult it is to convict DIRTY COPS! As for the plea deal, most first time offenders get such weak ass terms, and that infuriates most cops but never the public. But it always seems that when the weak ass terms are applied to cops people get butt hurt. I think back to the days of the Rodney King tribulations and trials in which the L.A. DA got involved in a dispute with the LAPPL. Well officers stopped making arrests and that resulted in Public Defenders and Deputy D/A’s being laid off. Remember the system feeds and protects itself and the public BE DAMNED!

  • Tsyokawe

    It seems to me that helping that cop get away with this amounts to aiding and abetting, or accessory after the fact…something. anything. Everyone who has assisted a dirty cop in getting away with these violent effing crimes is ALSO filthy and immoral and a THUG.

    Put them ALL in prison. Protect the population, and put these violent cops IN PRISON and everyone in their chain of command that helps them INCLUDING lowlifes like Beck, Lacey, and Feuer.

    I’m geting sick and tired of these wastes of space.

  • Don’t get so caught up in your own shit you miss the point. The point is that Lacey should have just as publicly announced the plea deal she did the charges. The same fanfare her and Beck used in the beginning should have been applied to the deal. Dont say you’re hard on bad apples and then not make resignation mandatory. Don’t try to hide it from the public. That’s my issue. All that other shit is for the birds.

  • no1sbro

    Jasmyne when you print stories and make generalized statements/demands like the DA failed to “make mandatory resignation” part of the plea deal, your readers presuppose that this is somehow the norm and the practice of the DA’s office. The DA is not in the business of employment law, nor do they get into the business of interfering with the LAPD and its internal disciplinary process. In fact, if you do just a little background prior to printing your blogs, you would find out that the DA DOES NOT make resignation demands upon defendants in these cases (nor should they). If Ms. Harper told you she was not kept in the loop prior
    to the in court, openly made plea by Mr. Garcia, she is being dishonest.
    Ms. Harper was advised of the plea well in advance (as the law requires), asked for input and documents prior
    to the plea, and for her own purposes refused to cooperate.

    But I get the purpose of your blog, and your generalized stories. It fans the flames and keeps you relevant to the small 1% of society who are anti law enforcement (but who yell the loudest). Ms. Harper has deceved you because her client Mr. Alford is facing multiple felony counts and life in prison for kidnapping young girls, forcing them into prostitution, raping them, sodomizing them with his two homies, and threatening to kill them. People v. Alford (Pomona case). He is also facing pimping charges on another case in LA from 2013. That is the real story, let’s see if you fact check this and blog that!

  • First of all, Mr. Clinton could be facing murder charges and that still wouldn’t make what happened to him on 55th street correct. Second, don’t try to come on here acting like you know what you’re talking about and I don’t. If you know anything, especially about politics–then you know that DAs make examples all of the time when they want the public to take them seriously. Obviously you are too clouded with your own shit to let the fact sink in that I am 100 percent right. The same fanfare used to announce charges wasn’t used in making the deal. It should have been. Remember, Lacey and Beck wanted to make a statement in the beginning and show that they weren’t standing for police misconduct. Third, if you think you can do better in assessing the situation. Have at it. Get a blog and write your little heart out. Perhaps someone will read what you have to say.

  • cutty sark

    I really hope that D.A. Lacey understands that this type of plea arrangement and deferred entry of judgement with no jail time must be made available to all defendants in an equivalent or less severe circumstance than Officer Garcia.
    To not do so risks sending a message to the public about preferential treatment under the law for some and prejudicial treatment for others.
    That is a potentialy inflammatory and dangerous message to issue from administrators of justice.
    The D.A. and the judge in this case have a responsibility for the wider impact of this plea.
    Taking another well known case for example, the murder of 14 year old Latasha Harlins, provides a vital lesson to remember about public perceptions of preferential punishment.
    The defendant, the woman working behind the counter of a Korean owned neighborhood liquor store, was convicted at trial by jury.
    The sentence of time already served plus a period of probation was shockingly inadequate for shooting an unarmed girl in the back and killing her. Thats the appropriate punishment for shooting a dog in the street.
    The convicted defendant was the beneficiary of Judge Renee Karlin’s sentence.
    But it was the Korean community in L.A., the Black community in L.A. and the City itself and all its residents who suffered damage wrought from the message of disproportionate treatment under the law.
    The resulting anger and frustration drove a segment of the L.A. Riots to take a turn up Western and Vermont Ave’s targeting Asian businesses for destruction.
    D.A. Lacey cannot allow the Officer Garcia plea deal to contribute to public perception that her office accepts “get out of jail free” cards from defendants who commit felony assault or battery only if they are police officers.
    Although Officer Garcia may benefit from avoiding the discomfort of jail and the stigma of felony conviction, its the police department, the residents of Los Angeles and their efforts to maintain a safe community for all where the damage will be felt.

  • exotish

    makes sense.

  • no1sbro

    The case was over charged to begin with. The exact opposite of your implicit argument is true….that if he WAS NOT A POLICE OFFICER, the DA would NEVER have filed this wobbler as a felony. Or even filed at all. The case, at best, was a misdo filing. The DA w pressure from the Chief caused this perception. If they file accordingly, the perception doesn’t exist.

  • no1sbro

    You so eloquently make my point. You only know what Bustamante leaks to you. Most of which is misinformation for his own good. Tell Alexander buenas. The bell tolls for thee!

  • You’re funny. What does this story have to do with the Inspector General. Why you hating? I’m sure there are much more productive things you could be doing with your time instead of trolling my timeline. At least do it quietly. Shh now be gone.

  • The American

    The reason “Resignation” is not mandatory is because employment as a police officer is a property right. NO ONE can make a police officer resign which is why there is the Board of Rights System as afforded by the City Charter of Los Angeles. My point was that this case should have been referred to the DOJ for prosecution!! I don’t believe in the “Bad Apple Cops” I believe in criminals with badges. As for the other commentator laying out Clinton Alfords criminal history or pending charges needs to be reminded that he will be adjudged for those “Allegations” and ts unfortunate that the officer caught kicking his ass is not being held to the same criminal standard or higher. So don’t get it twisted. I didn’t mis the point but I clearly understand the State of California Police Officer Bill of Rights and the City Charter of Los Angeles and the administrative law provisions afforded to all Police Officers employed in the State of California.

  • Stan

    You’re so uneducated and foul mouthed. You call yourself a journalist?? You’re obsessed with race baiting stories because deep down you’re a racist person.

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  • LAFan

    Sounds like Cannick is another Mosby. All for publicity. Excuse me but you seem to judge everyone who is not black. Since everything to you is about RACE then why nothing about Obama 1st black president giving a ransom of $4 million dollars to terrorists and you say nothing of that or if he was whi, you are the last person to judge anyone. Not once stating that Black Lives Matter is funded by George Soros a white man. Some of your responses to comments show your lack of class, ignorance and immaturity using curse words to prove a point.

  • C pltn


  • C pltn

    Your killing me! Lol

  • If Garcia fails to comply he will be sentenced to the felony violation of PC 149 which is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or both.
    If he is sentenced to a FELONY PC 149, typical “wobbler” offense with no set prison term, he will not do a year in County, but a term of either 16 months, 2 years or 3 years *if PC 149 is a “serious” or “violent” felony he could be sentenced to prison instead of County). The fact is he should have been sentenced to a FELONY PC 149 and then been sentenced to probation and a county year (which is 6 months unless there is overcrowding, then it will be less than 6 months) and a 5 year term of probation, and THEN if he completes that 5 year term with no issues reduce the felony down to a misdemeanor.

  • I really hope that D.A. Lacey understands that this type of plea arrangement and deferred entry of judgement with no jail time must be made available to all defendants in an equivalent or less severe circumstance than Officer Garcia.
    I hope you’re being sarcastic. If you are LE (?? don’t recall) you would know hands down that we live in a two-tiered Banana Republic “justice” system. NO ONE in real life who was not connected in would get a deal like this. No one. And if you’re black, brown or poor white trash you could expect a 3 years prison term.

  • The case was over charged to begin with. The exact opposite of your implicit argument is true Prosecuting attorneys overcharge on 99% of the cases. It is up to the judge (not happening most of the time., at least in state courts) to dismiss charges that fall short of PC. But the fact remains, if it was over-charged then Garcia could have gone to trial and blown the case wide open, I predict he did not do that because it was not overcharged to the point he would risk a substantial prison term if he rolled the dice.

  • In fact, if you do just a little background prior to printing your blogs, you would find out that the DA DOES NOT make resignation demands upon defendants in these cases (nor should they).
    Prosecuting Attorneys do plea deals ALL TH E TIME where resignation of a professional license (and their profession/livelyhood) is part of the deal, cop is no different.

  • ME2!

  • cutty sark

    I wanted to issue a reminder that the disposition of a particular case can have an amplified negative impact on the image of the entire system and the wider risks involved in allowing that.
    A foundation of stable society is the perception that institutions of justice generally operate toward fair and consistent outcomes.
    When we have confidence in the institution, we trust it to handle our individual grievances and disputes and we abide by the outcome.
    If that confidence degrades beyond a point then people start thinking about taking matters into their own hands rather than trusting the system to handle it. The result is disorder and injustice.
    The video of Rodney King getting whooped by LAPD officers and the subsequent trials were national media events.
    The store surviellance video of Latasha Harlins receiving a fatal shot in the back and the subsequent trial and conviction of the shopkeeper never received the notoriety of Rodney King, but that didn’t diminish the impact felt in the immedeate community.
    Perceptions that the value of a black life rated at the bottom of the scale in the administration of justice were confirmed by Judge Karlin’s sentencing of the defendant.
    The frustration and resentment arising from that sentence became a significant component of the social eruption and disorder known as the L.A. Riots.
    The Clinton Alford/Officer Garcia case doesn’t compare in significance to the homicide of Latasha Harlins, except in how it may have an outsized negative impact on public perception of the fairness of the system.
    We may be at a critical juncture for the communities involved, so the D.A and the Judge need to remember their responsibility to maintaining the public’s confidence in the general fairness of the system.
    Honestly, I’m not overly concerned about Clinton Alford or Officer Garcia as individuals right now.
    Despite descriptions of the video of Alford’s arrest as “horrific” and his testimonial he “thought he was going to die”, I haven’t seen any medical documentation of significant injury or permanent disability.
    As to Officer Garcia, if he isn’t capable of the restraint of emotions and reflex required of a police officer then its time for him to move on. Lots of people have to make a career change in their 30’s. Its not the end of the world nor is having one conviction on his record going to stop him from having a good life.
    My concern is the handling of this case comes at the wrong time for anything which doesn’t bolster public perception of the system. If the public can’t rely on the system to deliver fair and consistent outcomes, that creates risk that people will act out to administer their own approximation of justice.
    I don’t want to see conditions ripe for a mob to arise.
    When a mob arises, it becomes very difficult to contain or restrain before any damage is caused.
    Innocent people can easily get hurt or killed.
    For that reason, the court and the D.A. need to give special care to public perception of their actions.
    If Officer Garcia can’t handle 6-12 months in County Jail as an appropriate and consistent sentence given under the charge, then send me instead.
    If that will help prevent pent-up social frustrations from turning into an outburst against some innocent civilian or cop caught in the path – then Im ready right now to serve a year in County Jail for him.

  • Agree 100%, your singing to the Chior 🙂 ….

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  • singingsoprano

    Perhaps one cannot “require” resignation, but one can refuse to offer a plea deal if the accused doesn’t agree that resigning is in everyone’s best interest.