SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Garden Grove police officer has been charged with threatening and battering homeless people 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.
Garden Grove Police Officer Kevin Dinh has been 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.
He faces a maximum sentence of four years in the Orange County Jail if convicted on all counts. Dinh, a 12-year-veteran of the Garden Grove Police Department, is currently on administrative leave.
On September 20, 2020, Dinh was dispatched along with another officer to a restaurant regarding homeless individuals refusing to leave the front of the business. Dinh is accused of striking one of the men in the back of his head while holding his hands above his head and then twisting the man’s hands while holding them behind his back. He is also accused of threatening to knock the man’s teeth out if he sees him again.
On October 18, 2020, Dinh and two other officers were dispatched to an OCTA bus stop to investigate a package theft from a nearby home. Dinh is accused of striking the handcuffed suspect’s head, grabbing his hair and pulling, while saying something to him. The suspect was eventually uncuffed and released.
Both incidents were captured on body worn cameras.
“The public has the expectation that its law enforcement officers treat everyone with dignity and respect,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “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.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Dawn Vargas-Kaliban of Special Prosecutions is prosecuting this case.