• 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

  • Sports

    Mount Marathon: Charming third time?

    by Dave Goldman on Jun 30, 23:45

    For Eric Strabel, three would be company. The Anchorage native is in search of a third consecutive Mount Marathon title and fourth overall this weekend in Seward.  He feels positioned to do it. And the personal drive still burns. “It’s the challenge of it. I don’t think anyone is truly prepared for it,” Strabel said. “So everyone comes […]

  • Politics

    Walker signs budget, vetoes $200M in oil tax credits

    by Kate McPherson on Jun 30, 23:24

    Gov. Bill Walker vetoed $200 million in tax credits from the 2016 operating budget. The credits are owed to oil and gas companies that work in Alaska and are designed to encourage production. “The governor was right to do what he did,’” said Anchorage Democrat Rep. Les Gara. “We had to cut the budget and […]

  • News

    U.S., Cuba to announce embassy openings Wednesday

    by CBS News on Jun 30, 22:05

    President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to open embassies in Havana and Washington, a senior administration official said. The announcement marks a major step in ending hostilities between the longtime foes. “We will formally announce tomorrow that the United States and Cuba have reached an agreement to re-establish formal diplomatic […]

  • News

    Mat-Su borough slashes M/V Susitna price tag

    by Shannon Ballard on Jun 30, 21:49

    The M/V Susitna has been on the market for years with no buyer, so Mat-Su borough officials are trying a new strategy. They hope knocking a couple million dollars off the price tag will be the answer. Borough manager John Moosey says the Borough is doing whatever it can to sell the M/V Susitna, which they […]

  • News

    First federal reentry program underway in Alaska

    by Jacquie Slater on Jun 30, 21:41

    It’s not often you see a federal prosecutor standing alongside a federal public defender, working towards a common goal. But last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bradley and federal public defender Rich Curtner stood inside a courtroom together as part of the team that makes up the Alaska Hope Court. The Hope Court is a […]

  • News

    Valley company offers free towing for Sockeye Fire victims

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 30, 21:39

    A towing company in the Mat-Su Valley is helping Willow residents affected by the Sockeye Fire start the long road to recovery by offering their services for free. Metal in Motion Towing is offering to pick up metal that is leftover from the fire. “If they lost anything in the fire that’s metal of any […]

  • Crime

    Defense for Fairbanks man charged in wife’s death seeks to get indictment thrown out

    by Sierra Starks on Jun 30, 17:41

    A Fairbanks man, indicted on murder charges in his wife’s death in 2014, appeared in court again Monday. At the hearing, the defense attorney for 40-year-old John McDonald, asked the court to throw out the indictment. McDonald was charged in the death of Crystal S. McDonald, his wife, after police say he shot and killed her […]

  • News

    Investigator: Removal of Alaska plane wreckage weeks away

    by Associated Press on Jun 30, 17:39

    It could be weeks before the wreckage of a sightseeing plane that crashed in steep, rugged terrain in southeast Alaska, killing nine people, is recovered. National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson said authorities were waiting for a helicopter capable of lifting the parts to become available. He said that process could take three weeks. […]