Community leader holds Press Conference about CHP beating
The family of Marlene Pinnock, a 51-year-old woman shown in a video being repeatedly punched by a California Highway Patrol officer says they plan to sue the agency.
“How do I know he’s not going to hurt me or anyone else?” the woman’s daughter, Maisha Allums, told reporters Sunday. “So I am just here with a voice for my mom and everyone else.”
The beating took place Tuesday along the Santa Monica freeway and was caught on tape by passing motorist David Diaz.
“This is not just jabs, they are hooks,” he said. “Those are lights-out punches. Those aren’t like taps.
“You see it, you heard it. It was like ‘thump, thump, thump’ and then you see her head bouncing ‘bam, bam’ on the concrete. Then you hear her screaming, ‘No, don’t, stop.’ Then you even — at the end where she has her hands up like this — when it’s clear there is no more resistance, he takes another four or five shots.”
The woman who was beaten is Marlene Pinnock, a great-grandmother.
Caree Harper, the lawyer who is now representing her, says Pinnock’s injuries are severe.
“Her family went to visit her,” Harper said. “She has multiple lumps in her head, lumps on her shoulder like the size of a plum, bruises and lumps all over her upper body.”
A police report released Friday says the woman posed a danger to herself and other drivers because she was “walking within traffic lanes” at times.
It also says that when an officer asked her to stop, she “continued ignoring the officer’s command” and ultimately she “becomes physically combative.”
“The tape only shows a small part of what transpired,” California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris O’Quinn told reporters. “There are events that led up to this. Until all that’s collected and put into perspective we aren’t going to be able to make a determination,”
The agency didn’t identify the officer, but says he has been put on paid administrative leave.
“The CHP, to justify the beating, (are) saying they were trying to protect her from harm,” Harper said. “With a beating like that no one wants to be protected. She only needed protection from the officer.”
Pinnock is in a hospital under an involuntary psychiatric hold.
“We are concerned she’s still being involuntarily kept at a facility,” she said.
A California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer savagely beat an unarmed woman on a freeway onramp July 1 in Los Angeles, California. The assault was captured on video by an onlooker and shared widely on social media. The beating comes amidst a nationwide escalation in police brutality and a push by the state to militarize the domestic police force.
In the video, a CHP officer tackles a woman to the ground, forces himself on top of her, and begins punching her repeatedly. The woman tries to protect herself, but the officer begins to target her face directly, landing repeated full-blown punches to her head.
The shooter of the video footage, David Diaz, told CBS News that there were at least fifteen punches thrown by the officer, the majority of them hitting the woman’s face while the officer sat on top of her. Diaz remarked that the officer, who he described as a strong and big man, could have easily killed the woman.
The woman, whose age and name have not yet been released, was identified by her family as a “great-grandmother.” Though the extent of her injuries is unknown, she is currently in the hospital.
The CHP claimed that the officer had been dispatched after receiving a call about a woman who was on the interstate 10 freeway. According to Diaz, the woman had begun to get off the freeway before being tackled and beaten. Assistant Chief of the CHP, Chris O’Quinn, also acknowledged this fact.
Diaz told the Associated Press in a phone interview that the woman was walking off the freeway when the officer began shouting at her. According to Diaz, the woman turned away from the officer and walked back onto the edge of the freeway. According to Diaz, the CHP officer “agitated the situation more than helped it.”
“He grabs her and she kind of shuns him back – a very natural instinct. Of course he is stronger than her so he grabs her, throws her down.” Diaz continued, “With every punch, it’s bouncing her head off the concrete.”
According to other eyewitness reports, the woman “looked terrified… she looked just gone.” The same witness said the woman appeared to be barefoot and was carrying around several bags. Several news sites have suggested that she was homeless. In Los Angeles many homeless people live next to freeway onramps.
Attorney and family spokesman Caree Harper held a press conference outside of the hospital where the woman is receiving treatment. She said, “We want the focus to be what he was doing to her, not what she was doing.” Harper continued, “She was getting beat like an animal. No one should ever be beat like that.”
After the repeated punches to her face, an off-duty cop ran up to the scene. The officer then handcuffed the woman. Despite the extensive bashing of the woman’s face, the CHP did not report any injuries whatsoever in their police report. The woman was then taken for a 72-hour mental examination under custody.
O’Quinn told a press conference that he could not say why the officer responded in the way he did because it had not yet been evaluated. O’Quinn, however, defended the officer. He stated that the officer was more knowledgeable about freeway conditions than the “citizen.” “The most dangerous thing we face is traffic,” he said, suggesting that the officer was justified in brutalizing the woman for her own good. An investigation into the incident is underway.
This police beating comes amid an escalation of violence in the United States from police forces. In May an Atlanta SWAT team critically wounded a one-year-old toddler with a flash grenade. In the same month three police officers killed an unarmed man, who was backing away from them, in a migrant farm worker community in Salinas, California. In April a man was shot to death as he fled from police in Long Beach, California, again, unarmed.
Just this past week a police officer in Indiana was caught on video pushing a paraplegic man out of his wheelchair and onto concrete, claiming that the man had driven over his foot.
In January of this year the CHP was forced to pay $250,000 in damages to a pregnant woman who was abused by several officers. The woman was pulled over for talking on her cell phone; the police said she was trying to resist arrest in 5-mile-per-hour rush hour traffic. Four or five officers forced her, violently, to the ground with guns drawn. She was then kicked and hogtied. All of the involved officers remain on the force.