Sunday, July 06, 2014

Video shows CHP officer punching black woman

The California Highway Patrol has promised a thorough investigation after a video emerged of one of its officers repeatedly punching a woman on the side of a Los Angeles freeway.

The woman had been walking on Interstate 10 west of downtown LA, endangering herself and people in traffic, and the officer was trying to restrain her, CHP Assistant Chief Chris O'Quinn said at a news conference on Saturday. O'Quinn said the woman had begun walking off the freeway but returned when the confrontation occurred.

The video shows the woman pinned to the ground, struggling and trying to sit up while the officer punches her in the face and head until an off-duty law enforcement officer appears and helps handcuff her.

Passing driver David Diaz recorded the Tuesday incident and provided it to media outlets.

He said on Friday that he arrived as the woman was walking off the freeway. He said she turned around only after the officer shouted something to her. "He agitated the situation more than helped it," said Diaz, who started filming soon after.

The officer is on administrative leave while the patrol investigates. He has not been identified.

The video caught the attention of local civil rights leaders, who expressed shock and outrage at their own news conference. "Speaking for the women of this community, we are angry, we are upset," said Lita Herron of the Youth Advocacy Coalition.

O'Quinn said the CHP would answer community concerns, and that an investigative team already had been assembled and begun its work. "We are known as an agency that really polices itself," O'Quinn said.

Community activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson, speaking at the local leaders' news conference, agreed. "Over the years, CHP has had a very good track record in terms of community relations," Hutchinson said. "That's why this was so shocking."

O'Quinn said the incident report listed no injuries for the woman, who would not give her name. She is undergoing psychiatric evaluation, he said.

Original report here




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