On August 16, 2021, Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested 29-year-old Jose Luis Garcia of Lakeland for Child Abuse (F3) and Resisting an Officer Without Violence (M1). According to the affidavit, a witness told detectives that Garcia had sent text messages and cell phone videos to her of him physically abusing a preteen boy. The witness showed detectives a video where “Garcia uses profanity towards the child and strikes him on the right side of the head, which causes the child to say “ow” and hold the side of his head where he was struck.” Detectives made contact with the boy and saw visible marks and bruises on his face and arms. When detectives asked the child to exit the house, Garcia told detectives, “He’s fine, he’s not going anywhere with you.” Garcia began closing the door to keep the child from leaving the house. Detectives prevented the door from closing and safely removed the child. Detectives learned that the child had been punched and whipped with a belt on and about his body. The abuse is inconsistent with lawful corporal punishment. Detectives contacted the Department of Children and Families, and they will ensure the child is placed with the appropriate family members or guardians. “There is never a reason to abuse a child, and the fact that this criminal videoed the abuse disgusts me. 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.’” – Grady Judd, Sheriff Garcia was arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail where he is currently held without bond. His criminal history includes Grand Theft of a Vehicle, Habitual Driving on a Suspended License, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.