A Chicago police officer is facing charges after he allegedly choked a man in the back seat of a police SUV after the man used a racial slur, according to charging documents from Cook County prosecutors.
According to a proffer, Louis Garcia, who has been with the department since 2003, has been charged with official misconduct in connection to the May 2019 incident.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office investigated the case in conjunction with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
According to prosecutors, Garcia was with his partner at approximately 9 p.m. on May 31, 2019 when he saw a 42-year-old man standing in the middle of a street and making obscene gestures at passing vehicles.
Garcia, who was driving the vehicle, pulled over and he and his partner approached the man. While Garcia’s partner ran a name check, Garcia and the victim in the case began arguing one another, leading to Garcia placing handcuffs on the man.
When Garcia placed the man into the back seat of the police vehicle, the man allegedly used a racial slur. Garcia then allegedly responded “Who the F--- are you talking to?”
Prosecutors say that the man was laying on his back in the rear seat of the vehicle, and Garcia then placed his hands on or at the man’s neck, according to the proffer. The charging documents say that the man was having difficulty breathing as Garcia allegedly choked him for at least 10 seconds.
Garcia’s partner then moved to the driver’s side rear door of the vehicle, leaned into the back seat and removed Garcia’s hands from the man’s neck, according to charging documents.
While transporting the man to a police station, the man allegedly leaned forward and tried to bite Garcia. Garcia then allegedly elbowed the man in the face, opening up a cut on the man’s lip that required six stitches to close, charging documents said.
A part of the incident was captured on Garcia’s partner’s body-worn camera, authorities said.
A complaint was never filed by the alleged victim in the case. COPA was notified by the Chicago Police Department following a review of the incident by the Force Review Unit, according to charging documents.
If convicted, Garcia faces up to five years in prison, according to the proffer.
The Chicago Police Department declined comment, based on the ongoing nature of the case.