Richard Garcia, an LAPD officer charged in a horrific videotaped assault, has avoided a jail sentence by quietly accepting a plea deal, reports the Los Angeles Times. Prosecutors took the rare step of charging Garcia with felony assault for kicking and punching Clinton Alford Jr. during an October 2014 arrest in South Los Angeles. He faced up to three years in jail. But under a plea agreement with prosecutors this spring, Garcia pleaded no contest in a deal that will allow him to avoid jail time if he completes community service and donates $500 to a charity by late May 2017.
Garcia would then be allowed to enter a new plea to a misdemeanor charge that would replace the felony. District Attorney Jackie Lacey, whose office never publicly announced the plea, defended her decision to settle the case without any jail time, saying she felt the agreement was appropriate. She declined to detail the reasons for the plea, but said prosecutors generally look at a range of information including the seriousness of the victim’s injuries, whether the defendant has a prior record and the credibility of the witnesses. Video, she cautioned, “doesn’t tell the whole story sometimes.”