The head of the California Highway Patrol called Monday for more training of officers in how to deal with mentally ill citizens in the wake of the videotaped punching of a Los Angeles grandmother.
CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow made the comment in an interview with the Sacramento Bee's editorial board.
“The need for more [training] has been exposed,” Farrow told the newspaper.
The video recorded July 1 shows the 51-year-old woman -- identified by attorneys as Marlene Pinnock -- walking along the 10 Freeway near the La Brea exit when a CHP officer catches up to her.
The officer, the agency said, was trying to keep the barefoot woman from walking into traffic and endangering herself and others. The video shows him repeatedly punching her as she lay on the ground.
“What was going on in the officer’s mind?” Farrow said. “That’s the question.”
The officer in the video received a total of 12 hours of training related to dealing with mentally ill people, Farrow told The Bee. That included six cadet academy hours mandated by a commission that sets California’s peace officer training standards.
All CHP officers took another six hours of training between July 1, 2013, and June 30 as part of a department-wide refresher on the subject.
Farrow said he would like to increase officers’ training for handling mentally ill contacts to 40 hours.
Farrow said last week at a Los Angeles news conference that he was “deeply concerned” by the video, and that the incident “wounded” his agency.
Farrow pledged a thorough investigation, saying his agency had reached out to Los Angeles police, L.A. County prosecutors and the U.S. attorney’s office for “support and assistance.”
Farrow said the investigation would probably take weeks to complete and declined to speculate whether any actions might have warranted the officer’s response.
He said investigators would look at a range of evidence, including 911 calls, the video and witness statements.