Family of woman punched by CHP officer plans to file civil suit

Family of woman punched by CHP officer on video plans to sue, attorney says

The family of a woman seen on video being pushed to the ground and punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol officer plans to file a civil rights lawsuit, the family’s attorney said at a news conference.

The woman – identified as Marlene Pinnock – was shown on video walking on the side of the 10 Freeway in Mid-City when a male CHP officer catches up with her, throws her to the ground and repeatedly punches her in the head. A plainclothes officer can later be seen helping pin her to the ground.

“Her rights were violated in a most egregious way … appropriate legal action will be taken soon,” civil rights attorney John Burris said during a Sunday news conference.

The July 1 incident was caught on video by a passing motorist on the freeway near the La Brea Avenue exit.

"She's not just some animal," said attorney Caree Harper. "She has an aunt, a sister, a brother, a father and a great-grandchild."

The CHP did not identify the officer. Pinnock’s family told KTLA that the CHP officer should not be paid while he is off duty during the department’s investigation and that the plainclothes officer should also be punished.

CHP officials said the video captured only a small part of the incident. The officer was trying to stop the woman from walking into traffic and endangering herself and others, CHP officials said.

“We will leave no stone unturned” in the investigation, said CHP Assistant Chief Chris O'Quinn.

Pinnock was arrested and put on a mental health hold under California’s Welfare and Institutions Code 5150, which means a person is considered a danger to themselves or others. Under that code, a person can be held under observation for up to “72 hours for assessment, evaluation, and crisis intervention.”

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, said he and representatives of four other civil rights groups have scheduled a meeting with CHP Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the West Los Angeles office in Culver City.

Community activist Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic Hope, said local civil rights leaders also plan to meet CHP officials at their Central Los Angeles offices on Washington Boulevard at 11 a.m. Monday. But CHP officials said that a meeting with Project Islamic Hope had not been scheduled.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

July 7, 9:55 a.m.: This post has been updated to add the CHP's statement about a meeting with Project Islamic Hope.

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