LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County detectives arrested a man Monday who they said abused a boy and recorded it on video.
An affidavit states that Jose Luis Garcia, 29, of Lakeland recorded himself cursing and beating a child on the right side of the head and sent the videos and texts to a woman. The woman told authorities of the alleged abuse and showed them a video where the child said “ow” and held their head after being hit.
Detectives went to Garcia’s home and encountered him and the boy, who the sheriff’s office said had visible bruises and marks on his face and farms at the time.
The sheriff’s office said detectives asked the child to leave with them, but Garcia told them, “He’s fine, he’s not going anywhere with you.”
Garcia tried to close the door, but detectives stopped him and took the child.
According to detectives, the child was punched and whipped with a belt, breaking the law with regards to lawful corporal punishment.
“There is never a reason to abuse a child, and the fact that this criminal videoed the abuse disgusts me,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “Thankfully the witness contacted us, and we will do everything we can to hold Garcia accountable for his actions. This is a perfect example of ‘if you see something, say something.’”
The sheriff’s office said the Department of Children and Families will work to place the child “the appropriate family members or guardians.”
Garcia is now in the Polk County Jail without bond. The case is under investigation.