GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) – A Southern California police officer has been charged with threatening and punching homeless people while on duty in two separate incidents last year, prosecutors said .
Kevin Dinh, a 12-year veteran of the Garden Grove Police Department, has not been arrested and is on administrative leave on Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
The 37-year-old officer faces multiple counts, including attempted criminal threats, bodily harm and assault, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.
Prosecutors said Dinh hit a homeless man on the head and threatened to break his teeth outside a restaurant last September.
A month later, Dinh hit a handcuffed man on the head and pulled his hair as he investigated a theft of packages from a house, prosecutors said. The man was then released.
It was unclear on Thursday if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. The Garden Grove Police Association, the union that represents the city’s officers, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
In a statement, the police department said Dinh was immediately placed on administrative leave after another officer reported inappropriate use of force to a supervisor linked to the alleged second assault. The ministry then opened a criminal investigation.
Both incidents were recorded by body-worn cameras, police said.
Dinh is due to be brought to justice on July 21. He faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison if convicted on all counts, the newspaper said.
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