Excessive Force Used by Westminster Police Officer
(CA) – Westminster police responded to a call for an assault on Thursday afternoon. The claim of assault was disputed by a witness. However, the police officers did discover the suspect, Ciomara Garcia, had a felony bench warrant for vandalism. She also appeared to be under the influence. Garcia was handcuffed behind her back and was seated on the curb. Police officers were waiting for paramedics to arrive to evaluate Garcia.
Ciomara Garcia attempted to stand up. One of the officers pushed her back down and she kicked out at him. That is when the officer struck her twice in the face with a closed fist. The other two officers stopped their colleague’s assault on the handcuffed woman and told him to step away.
Westminster Police Press Release
The Westminster Police Department put out a press release that contained the following information.
“During the investigation of the use of force, a citizen provided WPD supervisors a copy of a cellphone video
that contained footage of part of the incident. After careful review of the video and based on the totality
of the circumstances, a Westminster Police Officer was immediately placed on paid administrative leave
pending an internal affairs investigation. The Westminster Police Department Internal Affairs Division is in
communication with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office which will evaluate the officer’s use of
force and determine if criminal charges are warranted.”
Police Reform Happens When Police Officers Stop Bad Cops
There are many ways to achieve police reform. One is by making police officers accountable for their actions. That can happen through them facing criminal charges. It can also happen when a city’s governing body gets angry about having to deal with a lawsuit for a civil rights violation. They can push the police chief to get rid of the person so he/she will no longer be a liability for them. But the best way is when other officers see a colleague engaging in police brutality and those officer step in to stop it.
The witness who filmed the incident feels the other police officers only stopped the officer’s assault because they knew she was filming them. Maybe that was the case, but I’d rather think they stopped it because they knew it was wrong. Or, at the very least, they stopped it to protect themselves.
Internal Affairs Investigation Underway
The name of the officer who punched the woman has not been released. What we do know is that he has been placed on paid administrative leave. The officer could face criminal charges. That determination will be made by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.