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Southern California officer charged with threatening, striking homeless people

Southern California officer charged with threatening, striking homeless people
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A Southern California police officer was charged Wednesday with threatening and striking homeless people while on duty in connection to a pair of incidents last year.

Kevin Dinh, a 12-year-veteran of the Garden Grove Police Department, was charged with four misdemeanor counts of attempted criminal threats, two misdemeanor counts of assault or battery by a public officer and two misdemeanor counts of battery, according to the Los Angeles Times. If he is convicted on all counts, Dinh could face up to four years in jail.

He has not been arrested, but is currently on administrative leave from the police force, the Times reported.

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“We will not tolerate this behavior on any members of our community,” Garden Grove Police Chief Tom DaRe reportedly said. “Everyone will be treated with dignity and respect.”

The district attorney's office released a statement saying that Dinh, along with another officer, was sent to a restaurant on Sept. 20 following a complaint that homeless individuals would not leave from the front of the establishment. Dinh allegedly twisted one of the homeless men's hands behind his back and hit him on the head.

Prosecutors also said that Dinh threatened the man, saying that he would knock his teeth out if he saw him again, the Times reported.

In a separate incident on Oct. 18, Dinh is accused of pulling a homeless man's hair and hitting the man on the head after handcuffing him. Dinh was reportedly sent to a bus stop that day with two other officers to investigate the theft of a package from a nearby home.

Prosecutors said that the man was later unhandcuffed and released, according to the Times.

The Garden Grove Police Department said in a statement that Dinh was placed on administrative leave immediately after a fellow officer reported his inappropriate use of force to a supervisor following the second alleged incident, the news outlet noted.

His arraignment is scheduled for July 21.