A Garden Grove police officer was charged Wednesday with beating and threatening two homeless people in separate incidents while on duty, including “hitting a man in the back of his head and pulling his hair while the man’s hands were handcuffed behind him,” according to a press release.
Kevin Dinh, 38, is scheduled to be arraigned July 21 on four counts of attempted criminal threats, two counts of battery and two counts of assault and battery by an officer, all misdemeanors.
Dinh, who is on administrative leave, could face up to four years in jail if convicted as charged.
Last Sept. 20, Dinh and another officer were sent to a restaurant when some homeless people refused to leave the front of the eatery, according to Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office.
Dinh allegedly struck one of the transients in the back of the head and twisted the man's hands behind his back before threatening to knock his teeth out if he saw him again, Edds said.
On a call to an Orange County Transportation Authority bus stop last Oct. 18 regarding a package thief, Dinh allegedly struck a handcuffed suspect in the head and grabbed and pulled his hair before he was let go, Edds said.
Both incidents were captured on body worn cameras, according to the press release.
Garden Grove police said Dinh has been placed on leave amid an internal probe.
“We will not tolerate this behavior on any members of our community,” Garden Grove police Chief Tom DaRe said. “Everyone will be treated with dignity and respect.”
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said: “The public has the expectation that its law enforcement officers treat everyone with dignity and respect. Abusing the color of authority to exert unlawful force or to attempt to instill fear in detained suspects is not how the overwhelming majority of police officers conduct themselves, and when officers cross the line into criminal behavior, they will be held accountable.”