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Justice sought for Black woman savagely beaten by CHP officer

July 11, 2014

by Kenneth D. Miller

More than 23 years after the videotape release of White uniformed LAPD officers beating unarmed Black motorist Rodney King in 1991 – which sparked civil unrest in Los Angeles and throughout the country in 1992 – the savage beating of 51-year-old African American woman Marlene Pinnock by a yet to be named White California Highway Patrol officer on the Santa Monica Freeway on July 1 was captured by cell phone video.

Motorist David Diaz stopped his car and recorded the beating of Marlene Pinnock, 51, at the side of the 10 Freeway in Santa Monica July 1. – Video frame: David Diaz

Motorist David Diaz stopped his car and recorded the beating of Marlene Pinnock, 51, at the side of the 10 Freeway in Santa Monica July 1. – Video frame: David Diaz

A community is outraged, civil rights and community leaders are planning a protest and the victim’s attorney is demanding justice. Pinnock has since been hospitalized and the CHP officer has been placed on paid administrative leave as the organization investigates possible excessive use of force.

The video of the beating has since gone viral on YouTube and has been viewed by over a million people. The video, captured by a driver passing by, shows an officer punching Pinnock while on the ground more than 11 times in the face while she lies helpless on the shoulder of the freeway.

Two days following the attack, the CHP issued this statement: “The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is aware of the video and we are looking into the incident. As a matter of policy, every time there is a use of force by our officers, there is a review conducted to determine whether the use of force was appropriate. That will be done in this case; however, since there is an ongoing investigation, it would be premature to comment on this specific video segment without reviewing the entire incident.”

A community is outraged, civil rights and community leaders are planning a protest and the victim’s attorney is demanding justice.

The video starts with the officer attempting to detain Pinnock. She manages to get a few steps away from him before he forces her to the ground. The officer then briefly struggles with her before repeatedly punching her in the face.

Maisha Allums, Marlene Pinnock’s daughter, told the press, “She’s a loving mom.”

Maisha Allums, Marlene Pinnock’s daughter, told the press, “She’s a loving mom.”

“After the officer spotted the barefoot woman walking along the shoulder and stepping into lanes of the 10 Freeway near the La Brea Avenue exit, he approached the woman, who became ‘physically combative,’” the CHP said in a statement. The video then shows the officer pull her to the side of the highway as he begins to brutally beat her.

After a few moments, a plainclothes officer arrives at the scene and assists the CHP officer in restraining Pinnock in handcuffs.

On July 4, Chris O’Quinn, assistant chief of the CHP Southern Division, assured news outlets the incident would be thoroughly reviewed.

“We’re looking at every possibility, every fact, every circumstance that has contributed to this situation, and we’re going to try to come to a just conclusion,” he said at a news conference on Friday.

A family photo of Marlene Pinnock

A family photo of Marlene Pinnock

Pinnock’s family has retained African American attorney Caree Harper, a former police officer dedicated to pursuing justice, according to her website. Her site lauds her federal and state jury trial experience and states she has helped many victims of civil rights violations.

Harper is asking that the two officers involved in the incident be punished. “She’s not just some animal,” attorney Harper said. “She has an aunt, a sister, a brother, a father and a great-grandchild.”

Prominent Northern California-based civil rights attorney John Burris has also joined the legal team representing Pinnock.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris declined to comment on the matter as of press time.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters told KCRA the officer should be fired for “viciously” punching the woman. Calling the incident a “brutal attack,” she said, “There is nothing that can justify the officer punching a helpless woman on a freeway.”

“This type of police brutality happens too often with African-Americans and we have seen it time and time again,” Waters said in a statement. “Based on the video shown of the patrol officer’s forceful punching of Marlene Pinnock, this is enough to demand his dismissal.”

“This type of police brutality happens too often with African-Americans and we have seen it time and time again,” Waters said in a statement. “Based on the video shown of the patrol officer’s forceful punching of Marlene Pinnock, this is enough to demand his dismissal.”

Sign the petition calling for the prosecution of the California Highway Patrol officer who beat Marlene Pinnock so viciously, at Change.org.

Kenneth D. Miller, assistant managing editor of the LA Sentinel, where this story first appeared, can be reached at kenneth@lasentinel.net. Bay View staff contributed to this story.

4 thoughts on “Justice sought for Black woman savagely beaten by CHP officer

  1. Raul

    Why has not this animal been arrested and thrown into a jail cell? Oh i get it two white police officer’s had no choice other than to slam the woman to the ground. The woman
    suddenly without provocation brutally and violently assaults one of our angelic peace loving defenseless police officers fist with her face! The officer in question fist being in a state of perpetual shock and afraid for it’s very life had no choice other than to incessantly savagely slam it’s self into her viciously attacking face! That will teach her never to lead with your face. And to think this thug is on a paid vacation.

    Reply
  2. Jeff

    That officer is clearly thrown levels of escalation and dept protocol out the window. He’ll probably be disciplined and/or fired.

    Reply

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