Police brutality has always been a delicate yet necessary topic that needs to be discussed, and for good reason. But after a police officer was recently convicted of murder after kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, the subject has gotten even more intense. Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis cop that refused to stop kneeling on the neck of Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds despite him pleading for his life, the guilty verdict Chauvin received has felt like the beginning of true justice and necessary change when it comes to police brutality and law enforcement, making people wonder if police really have too much power.
Although a number of states, police departments, and other law enforcement associations have moved forward in their attempts to make things better, there are still a number of police officers and others in law enforcement that don’t exactly agree with the rest of the country. Yet, these same individuals fear that they could also be accused of using excessive force on possible suspects as they continue to do their jobs.
In fact, this could have been exactly what happened to one police officer that works in Orange County, California. Three police officers had been in the middle of an arrest of a female suspect when a camera caught one of the police officers punch the woman twice in the face before he was stopped by his two fellow officers.
The video, which was filmed on a mobile phone in Westminster on April 21 at around 4:45 p.m., shows Ciomara Garcia, a 34-year old female suspect sitting on the curb in between two of the officers. As one of the officers moves to stand up, the woman tries to get up as well only to have one officer push her back to the curb. This is when she tries to kick the officer in the crotch, which is when the officer in question begins to punch her in the face twice.
Almost as quickly as he punches her, the other two officers move to stop him from punching her more, shoving him away from the suspect. Meanwhile, neighbors explain to the officers in Spanish that they are filming the arrest, which could be the possible reason for such a quick intervention as well.
A report claims that the officers were dispatched to 14100 block on Locust Street because someone had called them about Garcia, who was reported assaulting an Asian lady that was attempting to get her dog that had gotten out.
But an article by KTTV explains that a witness told them that the dog was actually Garcias, and she had been outside walking the dog when a cyclist had come near to where she was, making her fearful that her dog would be hurt. The two quickly got into an altercation that ended around five minutes later. But then the cyclist supposedly came back to where Garcia was, except this time he had police officers with him since he had told them that Garcia had hit him. But the witness said that there was no truth to the biker’s claims.
The police eventually found out that Garcia had an outstanding felony bench warrant for vandalism. Then they allegedly handcuffed her after she began to show signs of being under the influence.
Garcia’s brother, Adolfo Rosales, explained to Eyewitness News that his sister actually suffers from a mental illness. He shared, “They already know she has schizophrenia and she’s bipolar, or at least one of the cops did.”
He added, “When we opened the door, they’re trying to put handcuffs on her, and she was resisting. They’re walking her out, and when we got out of the walkway, that’s when she started kicking their shins. That’s when they threw her into plants.”
Later on they found that the doorbell video managed to catch the video of the officers picking her back up out of the flower bed and walk her toward the street, waiting for paramedics to arrive on the scene. But as they waited, the police shared that she “was not compliant and she became combative with the officers.” What occurred afterwards is the incident which was caught by a witness via their mobile phone.
Regardless, Garcia was booked and taken to the Orange County Jail due to her bench warrant, while the police officer that punched her was reportedly placed on paid administrative leave while awaiting an internal investigation by the police department.
The Westminster Police Department also posted their press release of the incident on their Facebook page, explaining “The Westminster Police Department is well aware of portions of the video circulating on social media. The Westminster Police Department considers this a serious event and will ensure that this investigation will be guided by the law and the truth. You can see the full press release here.
After the conviction of Chauvin on all counts of the murder of George Floyd, the police force has been under a microscope, and deservedly so. But only time will truly tell whether real change and true justice will prevail as time wears on.
For now, the arrest and sentence of Chauvin, as well as the possible jail time that the other three officers involved in the Floyd case could face, has become a turning point for police departments to better watch, reteach, and retrain their officers to follow proper, lawful, and appropriate protocols, regardless of the circumstance they are faced with.
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