Kate Larsen, Azucena Varela
The family of a woman who was hit in the head multiple times by a CHP officer on the side of a Los Angeles freewau said they plan on filing a lawsuit. They said the grandmother suffered multiple injuries and that her civil rights were violated. Kate Larsen reports from Willowbrook for the NBC4 News at 6 on Sunday, July 6, 2014
The family of a woman who was pinned down and repeatedly punched in the head by a California Highway Patrol officer on the side of a Los Angeles freeway is planning on filing a lawsuit, attorneys representing the family said Sunday.
Family members said Marlene Pinnock suffered multiple injuries and that her civil rights were violated in the incident, which was captured on cellphone video by a passing driver.
"I never would have thought I would be standing here today talking on behalf of my mom because she was beaten on the side of a freeway by a CHP officer that was sworn to protect her. That makes me scared," said Pinnock's daughter, Maisha Allum, during a press conference.
Attorneys for the family said the lawsuit will be filed this week, but did not name who they would be suing.
Pinnock was walking on the 10 Freeway west of downtown Los Angeles Tuesday when the officer approached her. Pinnock appears to ignore him moments before a physical struggle. The officer pulls her to the ground and quickly hits her about a dozen times as she shielded her face.
CHP Assistant Chief Chris O'Quinn said Pinnock had "placed themselves and motoring public in danger" by walking onto the freeway.
O'Quinn said Pinnock was not hurt, but the family said she suffered multiple injuries.
"We've been able to observe multiple lumps and bruises from her head to her arms, forearms, shoulders, lumps the size of plums," said attorney Caree Harper. "The lawsuit is virtually writing itself and it started writing itself the minute that officer's fist hit Ms. Pinnock's face multiple times."
Pinnock was being held on a 72-hour involuntarily mental health evaluation.
The officer, who has not been identified, remains on desk duty as the CHP conducts an internal investigation.
"I don't think there's any doubt that if you look at the videos that it was an unconscionable act, that her civil rights were violated in the most egregious way," said civil rights John Burris, who is also representing the family.
The family and attorneys planned on holding another press conference Monday.
Local civil rights activists said they planned on meeting with the CHP commissioner on Tuesday to discuss the incident.
CORRECTION: The CHP confirmed to NBC4 on July 7 that the officer in the video is on desk duty, not on paid administrative leave, as stated in earlier articles.