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Activists Hold Impromptu Meeting with CHP Honcho over Alleged Beating Incident

Outrage among civil rights groups has been growing since cell phone video emerged late last week of the altercation between an as-yet-unidentified CHP officer tackling and then repeatedly striking a woman.

A deputy commissioner of the CHP met today with activists upset over an incident where an officer is caught on tape hitting a woman on the side of the 10 Freeway. Patch file graphic.
A deputy commissioner of the CHP met today with activists upset over an incident where an officer is caught on tape hitting a woman on the side of the 10 Freeway. Patch file graphic.

Originally posted at 1:53 p.m. July 7, 2015. Edited to add more details.

A group of civil rights activists held an impromptu meeting with the deputy commissioner of the California Highway Patrol near downtown Los Angeles today as they continued pressing for answers about a recording that showed an officer repeatedly punching a woman along the Santa Monica (10) Freeway.

Pastor William Smart of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope were among the activists who went to the CHP office and met briefly with Deputy Commissioner Ramona Prieto.

"We're very satisfied," Smart said after the meeting. "Anytime you have a commissioner leave a meeting, come down to do this on the spur of the moment, understanding the importance of this, that's what we appreciated, that she heard us."

Outrage among civil rights groups has been growing since cell phone video emerged late last week of the altercation between an as-yet-unidentified CHP officer tackling and then repeatedly striking a woman -- 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock.

The woman's family has already hired attorneys and indicated it plans to pursue a lawsuit.

The arrest took place last Tuesday along the 10 Freeway at La Brea Avenue. Pinnock was allegedly walking barefoot along a narrow freeway shoulder and occasionally in traffic lanes. According to the CHP, the officer ordered her to stop, but she did not respond.

The officer then got out of his vehicle and stood in front of the woman, but she ignored his commands and continued walking, heading westbound against the flow of traffic and at times into traffic lanes, according to the CHP.

The woman allegedly became physically combative, prompting the officer to place her under arrest, CHP officials said.

"A physical altercation ensued as the pedestrian continued to resist arrest at which point a plain clothes off-duty officer assisted in applying the handcuffs to the pedestrian," according to the CHP. "When asked if she sustained any injuries, the pedestrian did not advise of any nor were any located by the officers at the scene."

A passing motorist recorded the arrest and provided the video to news outlets. It shows the woman on her back attempting to ward off several blows from the CHP officer kneeling over her, before a off-duty officer in civilian clothes ran up and the violence ended.

Family members lashed out on Sunday, saying the officer was throwing "lights-out punches" at the woman while sitting on top of her.

Ali said today the activists want more information about Pinnock's case.

"We want to find out whether she was charged or not," he told NBC4 after the meeting with Prieto. "Number two, what are the policies and the procedures? Because to us, the officer isn't trying to make an arrest, he was beating her excessively, so we want to find out why that happened."

The activists have said they hope to meet with the head of the CHP tomorrow.

Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California, called today for a full investigation of the woman's arrest.

"Officers are authorized to use force only when reasonably necessary to overcome force or danger posed by a subject," Villagra said. "But disturbing video raises serious questions whether, in those circumstances, it could possibly be reasonable for the CHP officer to pin Ms. Pinnock to the ground and punch her repeatedly."

--City News Service


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