A Sterling man has filed a federal lawsuit against a former Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy who he said struck him in the back of the head without provocation.
The November 2009 incident was recorded on the deputy’s dashboard camera and can be seen here.
Carlos Garcia, the plaintiff in the case, had been detained by another Loudoun County deputy and a K-9 officer and was standing with his hands above his head when Loudoun County deputy Terry Daniel ran toward him and struck him, according to a complaint filed Nov. 9, 2011 in Alexandria federal court.
The video shows a man, his hands in the air, interacting with a man in uniform and standing with his back to the camera. A sheriff’s deputy runs up from behind, making contact with the man who falls to the ground. There is no audio, so it is unclear if words were exchanged. It is also unclear what happened immediately before or after.
According to the lawsuit, the incident occurred Nov. 14, 2009 after Garcia and several relatives celebrated his wife’s birthday at a restaurant in a Loudoun shopping plaza. Because they drank alcohol, Garcia and his family members called a cab; when the vehicle arrived, a Loudoun County deputy at the scene informed the driver that it was illegal to transport that number of passengers, the complaint said.
After the cab drove away, the deputy asked Garcia and his relatives to wait on the shopping plaza walkway, according to the complaint. But Garcia’s brother-in-law attempted to walk away, which “precipitated an incident,” the complaint said. More deputies were called to the scene, and Garcia and his family members were detained, the complaint said.
Sheriff’s Office records indicate that Garcia and his family members were charged with drunk in public and assault on a police officer, after an altercation left one deputy with “minor contusions on his arm, leg and shoulder, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Liz Mills. She did not elaborate.
Garcia later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of simple battery in the case, according to the lawsuit.
At the time of the incident, Garcia’s wife was being handcuffed and Garcia was standing with his hands in the air when Daniel arrived and struck him, according to the complaint.
Daniel stepped on Garcia’s face after Garcia fell to the ground unconscious, the complaint said.
Victor M. Glasberg, Garcia’s attorney, said in a statement Monday that Garcia was knocked unconscious and suffered traumatic brain injury as a result of the incident. Garcia’s injuries led to memory loss and persistent migraine headaches, Glasberg said.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages from Daniel in response to the alleged assault.
Mills said that Sheriff’s Office records indicate that Daniel resigned his position in August 2011 and took a job with a police department in Alabama. He could not be reached for comment, but told The Associated Press that he declined to comment on the lawsuit and said he was working to find a lawyer.
The incident occurred while former Loudoun Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson was in office, Mills said. She said newly elected Sheriff Mike Chapman expects his deputies to act as “ambassadors” for the Sheriff’s Office.
“He expects professional conduct from his officers,” she said.