An LAPD officer who prosecutors say was caught on tape viciously beating and kicking a suspect pleaded guilty Monday to a felony assault charge.
Officer Richard Garcia, 34, was charged earlier that same day in connection with the October arrest of 22-year-old Clinton Alford Jr., the Associated Press reports.
Alford was initially apprehended by two other LAPD officers who believed he matched the description of a robber on the loose, according to the LA Times. Prosecutors say a plainclothes officer failed to identify himself as a police officer when he asked Alford, who was on a bike, to stop. When a different officer then grabbed the back of the bicycle, Alford attempted to run away.
Security video from a nearby building allegedly shows Alford lying down the ground with his hands behind his back after the officers caught up with him. Then, prosecutors say, Officer Garcia can be seen getting out of his patrol car and kicking, elbowing and stomping on Alford, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Police officials who saw the footage -- which has not been released to the public -- told the LA Times that the video was “horrific” and Garcia's demeanor was like a “football player kicking a field goal.”
The end of the footage shows Alford’s unmoving body carried away to a car by several officers. Alford maintains that the beating rendered him unconscious.
"I was just praying to God that they wouldn't kill me,” Alford said at a news conference on Monday. “I felt that I was going to die." Alford also recalled being "Tased in my back until I flopped like a dead fish."
Alford added he would like to see Garcia -- who has been on paid administrative while the LAPD investigated the incident -- fired. His attorney wants the security footage released to the public.
Police Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement that “any officer that abuses the public's trust is not welcome in the LAPD. The LAPD will take swift action to investigate and refer appropriate cases for prosecution to the LA District Attorney's Office whenever an officer is suspected of committing a criminal act."
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that a witness described Alford's demeanor during the incident as "like a football player kicking a field goal." It has now been corrected to state that the witness was describing Officer Garcia's demeanor.
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