Officer Kevin Dinh was charged with two misdemeanor counts of unlawful beating by a police officer, two misdemeanor counts of simple battery, and four misdemeanor counts of attempted criminal threats, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office.
The OCDA said in a June 9 press release that the charges stem back to September 2020, when a policeman hit a homeless man on the head after responding to a call about an individual who refused to leave the front area of a restaurant. The man was struck while the officer twisted his hands and held them behind his back, authorities said.
The officer threatened to knock the man’s teeth out if he saw him again, the OCDA said.
Less than a month later in October 2020, the same officer was dispatched to an Orange County Transportation Authority bus stop to investigative a package stolen from a nearby home. During this stop, he allegedly struck a handcuffed man’s head, and grabbed and pulled his hair.
Footage from each incident was captured by the attacker and other officers’ body worn cameras.
“The public has the expectation that its law enforcement officers treat everyone with dignity and respect,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a prepared statement. “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.”
Dinh faces a maximum of four years in Orange County Jail if convicted on all counts. He is currently on administrative leave.