Police officer allegedly assaulted by man with 11 priors

Suspect reportedly had blamed God for actions during smoke shop raid


An on-duty female Queens officer who was helping with New York sheriff’s office raid of a smoke shop April 17 at 206 W. 231st St. was struck in her head from behind with a glass bottle.

Just moments before incident, the Sheriff’s office at around 2 p.m. started the raid.

It is part of a clampdown on unlicensed and unregulated smoke shops throughout the city.

Cell phone video from an employee and surveillance footage posted online showed at least six officers involved in the operation, with several officers lugging out large trash bags containing merchandise from the store.

The Queens officer was standing beside other officers when a man in a dark gray hoodie and Target bag wrapped around his left shoulder approached with his hands in his pocket. The man took a bottle out of his pocket and smashed it onto the back of the officer’s head for no apparent reason.

Surveillance footage showed the man moved to attack again, grabbing her, and attacking the police officer beside her, before he was quickly apprehended by the other officers on site.

Additional police units were called and EMS took and transported the female officer to Saint Barnabas Hospital to be treated for her injuries. Sources say the officer is in stable condition.

As for the attacker, he was placed into custody on the scene, and later confirmed to be Jose Garcia, 45, a Bronx resident.

During a recent Community Board 8 meeting last week Lt. Timothy Haney of the 50th Precinct said Garcia’s attack was not related to the smoke shop inspection.

“This was just unfortunately a pretty random attack,” Haney said. “It was not directly related to anything that we were doing related to the smoke shops.”

According to the New York Post, sources claimed after his arrest Garcia allegedly told authorities God “told him to do this,” and that there were “people in his house and no one did anything.”

Garcia was charged with assault, obstruction of government administration, resisting arrest, menacing, criminal possession weapon, and harassment.

These were not the 45-year-old man’s first charges or first arrest as he had 11 priors, ranging from selling items without a vendor license, robbery, grand larceny, and more, according to sources from the New York Post.

Garcia’s father told the New York Post he wanted his son to be brought to a psychiatrist and held in a “safe” place. His son was apparently diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was twelve years old. He commented that his son most likely assaulted the officer because of his “mental issues.”

“He’s got mental issues,” Garcia’s father told the Post. “Besides his problems, he’s a nice man. He’s not a bad man. He’s got problems.”

The Kingsbridge Business Improvement District called the assault “sad.” They criticized the laws used to attempt to close illegal smoke shops.

“We also have EDP (emotionally disturbed persons) that act out,” Katherine Broihier, executive director at Kingsbridge BID said. “It is very sad that both of these events happened because of each other meeting at the wrong time. Kingsbridge shopping district is one of the nicest and safest districts in the Bronx. Just ask the 50th Precinct.”

Councilman Eric Dinowitz called Garcia’s acions “despicable.”

“Police put their lives on the line everyday and it’s despicable that someone would assault them,” he said. “This man obviously needs help that he’s not getting.”

Garcia will appear in Bronx Supreme Court on May 1, where he faces a felony charge of attempted assault of a police officer with a deadly weapon.

He has a bail of $30,001, and a bond of $100,001 with the option of a partially secured bond available.

Queens police officer, smoke shop raid, 50th Precinct, Lt. Timothy Haney, cannabis raid, Eric Dinowitz, Jose Garcia,