A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against the California Highway Patrol officer who can be seen in cellphone footage repeatedly punching a 51-year-old woman on a SoCal freeway shoulder earlier this month, attorneys and the victim's family members said Thursday.
Marlene Pinnock's attorneys argued that the unnamed officer used excessive force and violated her Fourth Amendment right by pinning her on the ground and hitting her numerous times.
Pinnock allegedly walked barefoot into the lanes of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway when confronted by the CHP officer on July 1.
"You can't pound a person into submission and expect to get away with it," attorney John Burris said at a press conference Thursday outside the FBI's Los Angeles headquarters.
A CHP spokesman said no one was immediately available to respond to the lawsuit, according to City News Service.
Burris, who served as co-counsel in the 1992 Rodney King police beating case, said that in all his years as an attorney he has, "never seen a woman getting beat this way."
The CHP has promised a speedy investigation into the matter and has obtained a warrant to obtain Pinnock's medical records.
"We believe, that quite possibly, they're trying to manufacture some criminal allegations against her," attorney Carrie Harper said.
CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow told the Sacramento Bee newspaper that "the need for more (training) has been exposed," in reference to the video and how the law enforcement agency deals with the mentally ill.
But Pinnock's attorneys say this is irrelevant.
The footage sparked outrage among civil rights groups calling for the firing of the officer and calls by a California legislator for a Department of Justice investigation.
Pinnock's family and attorney said she suffered severe injuries in the attack, however, the CHP said the woman was not hurt in the incident.
"He was throwing vicious blows," Burris said. "You can easily suffer brain damage or have serious injury as a consequence of that."
The officer has been placed on desk duty, but has not released his identity.