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Woman videotaped in CHP beating was walking into traffic, report says

Crime
CHP officer alleges woman later punched along freeway was 'talking to herself,' called him 'the devil'
Woman punched along 10 Freeway alleges officer 'was bamming me in my temples with all the strength he had'

A woman who was seen being beaten by a California Highway Patrol officer on the 10 Freeway earlier this month was “talking to herself” and tried to walk into traffic on the freeway, according to a report obtained by The Times.

A CHP officer made the comments in an application he submitted in support of putting the woman — Marlene Pinnock, a 51-year-old grandmother — on a 72-hour hold for further mental evaluation. The officer wrote that he was called to the eastbound lanes of the 10 Freeway after a report of a pedestrian walking on the freeway near the La Brea exit.

“The subject began telling me ‘I want to walk home’ and called me ‘the devil,’” he wrote. “The subject then tried to walk into traffic lanes.”

The July 1 incident came to light when a video of the officer punching Pinnock was posted on YouTube, then aired on television news outlets. The video, shot by a passing motorist, shows the unnamed officer pinning the 51-year-old woman to the ground and landing at least nine blows.

Pinnock was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. Her attorneys have declined to say why she was on the freeway that evening or provide more information about her mental health. Some community leaders have said she was “impaired.”

The video sparked outrage from civil rights activists, politicians and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. Some have called for an independent investigation and criminal charges against the officer.

The CHP has said the officer was trying to keep Pinnock from walking into rush-hour traffic and hurting herself or others. A CHP incident summary said that when the officer arrived, she ignored his commands and instead walked into the freeway's lanes. She then became “physically combative,” the report said, and “a physical altercation ensued.”

The officer involved has been removed from the field and assigned to an administrative job, the agency said. 

Pinnock has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officer and CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow, alleging the officer used excessive force.

In the lawsuit, Pinnock alleges the officer "was bamming me in my temples with all the strength he had."

The CHP has not identified the officer involved nor confirmed if it was the person identified by Pinnock's attorneys, citing concerns over the officer’s safety.

The officer who wrote the report in support of Pinnock's mental evaluation identified himself only as "D. Andrew." CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader confirmed a Daniel Andrew is employed by the agency but would not say if that individual was involved in the matter.

At least one threat has been made against the officer in the 10 Freeway incident, according to a CHP report obtained by The Times. Officers investigated a man who on July 15 tweeted that the officer who punched Pinnock "deserves to be executed," according to the report.

CHP officers contacted the man at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Los Angeles, where he said his comments were "irresponsible, reckless and regrettable," according to the report. The man told the officers he did not intend to hurt anyone.

The investigator determined the man was not planning any violence against the CHP officer, and no arrest was made.

Follow @LAcrimes, @katemather and @JosephSerna for more law enforcement news from across Southern California.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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