HomeChinese AmericanFirefighter Escapes Jail Time for Seriously Injuring Man Passing Out Halloween Candy

Firefighter Escapes Jail Time for Seriously Injuring Man Passing Out Halloween Candy

Samuel Chang IncidentOne minute Samuel Chang was passing out Halloween candy.

Minutes later a firefighter would be holding him down in a chokehold.

Before long, his attacker was performing CPR on Chang and paramedics had to be called.

The Los Angeles Times reports Chang suffered head trauma, kidney failure and a hemorrhage. He remained hospitalized for a week.

Eric Carpenter has been given a plea deal that includes no jail time and allows him to stay on the job as a Los Angeles firefighter.

“The Los Angeles Police Department, my commanding officers and my investigator and my partner, we don’t feel that this penalty is just,” Det. Tim Marcia said to a judge, according to a transcript. “We also think that the video … speaks a thousand words, your honor. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

A probation report had recommended at least a year in jail.

Here’s the Times account of what lead up to incident.

Chang, a 24-year-old graduate student, was passing out Halloween candy at his parent’s home. Not getting a lot of trick or treaters, he ventured out to his grandmother’s residence. He walked down in front of Carpenter’s home. Three men including Carpenter approached him and demanded to know what he was doing. When Chang said he was passing out candy, he said the men asked if the candy was laced with drugs.

Chang pulled out his cell phone and began recording. Other witnesses began recording as well. Chang is seen on video backing away from the men. He pleads to others to call police, but no one comes to help. Chang is seen pinned to the ground. Carpenter’s forearm is wrapped around Chang’s throat. One video shows Chang under a chokehold for six minutes.

Carpenter’s attorney, Michael Goldstein, served as Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey’s campaign finance director in 2012 and has donated thousands of dollars to Lacey over the years.

The DA’s office denies any impropriety.

The prosecutor in the case was deputy District Attorney Jonathan Chung. He offered Carpenter a plea that would include prison time, but Carpenter refused it because a felony conviction would cost him his job. The Times says Carpenter’s attorney then went over Chung’s head and had a meeting with others in the department. He alleged Chang had been harassing young children and had his fly partially down. Chung would later offer a new plea deal that did not include jail time.

Prosecutors said they did not think they could win a conviction and downplayed the severity of Chang’s injuries.

Tests conducted by police show Chang’s candy was not laced with drugs and that he was not under the influence.

Two other defendants in the case pleaded no contest and received three years probation and community service.

A criminologist and former prosecutor called the sentence a “sweetheart deal.”

“It appears improper,” he said. “There’s a concept of the well-connected lawyer, and the well-connected lawyer advertises the fact that he’s a well-connected lawyer to his clients.”

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