• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 8s

After California Highway Patrol beating, community wants answers

By CBS/AP 12:27 PM July 5, 2014
LOS ANGELES –

The California Highway Patrol has vowed to carry out a thorough investigation after a video emerged of one of its officers repeatedly punching a pinned-down woman on the side of a Los Angeles freeway.

The woman had been walking on Interstate 10 west of downtown Los Angeles, 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. O’Quinn said the woman had begun walking off the freeway but returned when the confrontation occurred.

The video shows the woman 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 him handcuff her.

Passing Driver David Diaz recorded the Tuesday incident and provided it to media outlets. He described the incident as “excessive” and “unnecessary” to CBS News correspondent Teri Okita.

The officer is seen following the woman, who was barefoot and appeared disoriented – onto the freeway shoulder. When she ignored his commands to stop, Diaz said the situation quickly escalated.

“He grabs her and she kind of shuns him back – a very natural instinct. Of course he stronger than her so he grabs her, throws her down,” Diaz said.

“With every punch, it’s bouncing her head off the concrete.”

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 has been assembled and has 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.”

But Hutchinson said that “excessive force, abuse of authority, is not going to be tolerated,” calling for a federal investigation and for the officer to be immediately suspended pending the results of the federal probe, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Hutchinson said the group has not received any information from the CHP about the context of the video, although he could not think of a reason that could justify the officer’s actions.

“We don’t know at this point [what occurred before the recording]. The only thing we have [is] the video,” he said, insisting that no matter what transpired “the officer crossed the line.”

“To subdue, that’s one thing. But to beat, that’s another thing,” Hutchinson said.

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.

O’Quinn said he could not say what prompted the officer to act as he did. But he noted California Highway Patrol officers have a heightened sense of the dangers of being on the freeway compared with a citizen “who is not accustomed to the speed and conditions,” especially outside of a car.

“I can say that the tape only shows a small part of what transpired. There are events that led up to this. Until that’s collected and put into — perspective, we aren’t going to be able to make a determination.”

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Latest Stories

  • Troopers: Remains found likely belong to David Grunwald, 1 teen charged in connection to his death

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 03, 11:55

    Alaska State Troopers say it is likely the remains of missing 16-year-old David Grunwald have been found. Additionally, at least one teenager now faces charges of kidnapping and murder in connection to the case. Human remains were found in the Knik River Road area near Palmer around 2 p.m. on Friday, according to an online […]

  • News

    Electrical fire displaces 3 from Debarr Road home

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 03, 11:20

    A fire displaced three people in East Anchorage early Saturday morning, according to the Anchorage Fire Department. At least a dozen units responded to the fire at the Glacier Terrace Trailer Park, located near 4110 Debarr Road, just after 3 a.m., according to assistant fire Chief Erich Scheunemann. The fire was under control within half […]

  • Police: Man stabbed at Brother Francis Shelter, no suspect identified

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 03, 11:14

    The Anchorage Police Department is investigating a stabbing that occurred at the Brother Francis Shelter early Saturday morning. The stabbing was reported just before 1 a.m., according to a statement from police. “Officers and medics arrived and located an adult male with a single stab wound to the back,” police explained. The victim was treated […]

  • News

    Silver Alert: Troopers seek whereabouts of 89-year-old Fairbanks man

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 03, 10:45

    ANCHORAGE — An 89-year-old man’s disappearance has prompted a Silver Alert from the Alaska Department of Safety. R O’Grady was last seen near the area of Phillips Field Road and Peger Road in Fairbanks, according to the alert, which was issued around 2 a.m. on Saturday. O’Grady is believed to be endangered, Alaska State Troopers […]

  • News

    Juneau resident shot by officer, medivaced to Seattle

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 03, 10:11

    A Juneau resident is undergoing treatment after a police officer shot him early Saturday morning, according to the department. Juneau police issued a statement about the incident, saying two officers initially came into contact with the 38-year-old resident at 4:19 a.m. on the 16500 block of Ocean View Drive. “The 38-year-old Juneau resident was shot […]

  • Make the Alaska Aces part of your team

    by Dave Leval on Dec 02, 21:01

    Here’s your chance to make Stephen Perfetto part of your team. The Alaska Aces center is one of three from the team on the ballot for the annual Meigray- ECHL Fantasy Team. Left-wingers Garet Hunt and Tim Wallace are also on the ballot. You can only vote once during the period that ends Monday, Dec. […]

  • News

    Bean’s Cafe opens overnight shelter, operated by its own staff

    by Eric Ruble on Dec 02, 20:52

    About 50 people were expected to spend Friday night inside Bean’s Cafe. Executive director Lisa Sauder said the decision was made less than one week ago, after the municipality asked for help in accommodating people who were turned away from places like Brother Francis Shelter due to high demand. “The need is great. The temperatures […]

  • Lawmakers, school board consider alternative approach to classroom discipline

    by Liz Raines on Dec 02, 20:35

    School suspensions may become a thing of the past. Lawmakers and school board members are looking at a different approach to student discipline statewide. National studies have found that, for many incarcerated adults, their pathway to jail started with frequent suspensions in school. The trend is now known as the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Educators statewide are trying […]