Los Angeles

CHP Officer Hit Woman in Now-Viral Video With “All the Strength He Had”: Lawsuit

The woman seen on a now-viral video being repeatedly punched by a California Highway Patrol officer said her dress was violently ripped to expose her bare buttocks as she told the officer “I didn’t do anything to you,” according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last week and amended Friday.

Marlene Pinnock, 51, said in the lawsuit that she had dealt with the officer in the past, and that he called her by name as she walked in the area of the 10 Freeway west of downtown Los Angeles July 1. When she began to leave the area the lawsuit alleges she was “violently thrown to the ground” by the officer.

“He was bamming me in my temples with all the strength he had,” Pinnock said in the lawsuit. Pinnock said she told the officer, “stop, I didn’t do anything to you.”

CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow told the Sacramento Bee newspaper last week 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.

Pinnock’s attorney, Caree Harper, also alleges that the officer, on a “mission to humiliate her,” violently ripped Pinnock’s dress after she tried pulling it down because she wasn’t wearing underwear.

Harper said Pinnock had no alcohol or drugs in her system when the incident took place.

"We’re asserting that it, in fact, was an attempted murder,” Harper said. “His actions were extreme, outrageous and intentionally humiliating. He had her on the side of the road with no underwear on, her buttocks was out."

The lawsuit claims Pinnock was "a victim of 10-15 unprovoked vicious blows from the officer while he straddled her and made no attempt to arrest her during the attack."

Farrow said last week that the video only captured part of the altercation, and that one would need to know “what was going on the officer’s mind” at the time of incident.

Investigators with CHP seized medical records for Pinnock last week as she remained hospitalized.

"She suffered a traumatic head injury," Harper said. "How can you give away files about someone injured ... to the very people who beat her?"

Farrow told the Associated Press last week that he couldn't confirm the search warrant.

"I think what they're trying to do is, they don't have a statement from her, and they're trying to find that out," Farrow said. "I don't think the CHP is trying to put her on trial or make it an issue about her. What I'm looking at is entirely about the circumstances, we all saw what happened. Our job is to find out the why and the how."

The officer, whose name has not been released by CHP, was placed on desk duty.

The CHP said it had no comment on the amended lawsuit.

Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.

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