Marlene Pinnock, an elderly black woman, said she thought she was going to die as a California Highway Patrol officer straddled her, repeatedly punching her head, on the side of a Los Angeles freeway.
The incident was caught on video by a passing driver and is now viral on the internet.
"He grabbed me, he threw me down, he started beating me, he beat me. I felt like he was trying to kill me, beat me to death," Pinnock said.
Pinnock was released from the hospital last week after several weeks of treatment for head injuries and now slurs her speech, her attorney Caree Harper said.
Pinnock is suing CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow and Officer Daniel L. Andrew in federal court for civil rights violations. The suit claims excessive force, assault, battery and a violation of Pinnock's due process rights.
The CHP hasn't identified the officer but said he had been on the job for 1 1/2 years and is on desk duty pending completion of the internal investigation.
Farrow met with community and civil rights leaders in Los Angeles multiple times last month and pledged that the investigation will conclude in weeks rather than the usual months.
The CHP has said that Pinnock was endangering herself by walking on Interstate 10 and the officer was trying to restrain her.
Pinnock has been homeless for the last three to five years, occasionally staying at the Los Angeles Mission, a family member's home or on La Brea or Crenshaw.
Pinnock said she had been on her way to a safe place where friends could watch her sleep when the altercation occurred. Harper said the area Pinnock was headed to is one of those frequented by the homeless and only accessible by walking along the freeway ramp.
She was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold by officer Andrew after the incident, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.
Andrew said in his report that she was a danger to herself and wrote that "upon contacting the subject she was talking to herself. The subject began telling me 'I want to walk home' and called me 'the devil.' The subject then tried to walk into traffic lanes."
Harper didn't allow Pinnock to discuss the details leading up to the incident or her medical treatment.
"If in fact she did call him the devil is secondary to the fact that he proved to be either the devil or a close relative," Harper said. "Because he treated her in a manner nobody should ever be treated."
Pinnock is being supported by Harper to keep her off the street and is essentially "starting from scratch," her attorney said. She also had to go to the emergency room Thursday for "severe temple pain," Harper said. And Pinnock said she's had "bad nightmares" about beating beaten.
CHP investigators in July seized Pinnock's medical records and the clothing she was wearing during the incident from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. Attorney Harper said she was outraged by the violation of doctor-patient privacy and attorney-client privilege.
The incident has drawn outrage from U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, who called it police brutality and demanded the officer be fired, and civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
See the video: http://youtu.be/GXF3hf87emk
That California Highway patrolman "HERO" who thought this elderly woman was a danger to herself (ya right) saved her by savagely punching the hell out of her face. Gee, I wonder if that is the protocol taught in the department for saving people. What a he-man!!
It is very obvious this
man troubled punk has a serious temper problem and should not be wearing a badge and gun. I wonder if he is married. If he is, I just bet his wife could tell us a thing or two about his behavior!
Police departments all over the country are hiring militant, out of control idiots like this. They have maimed and killed many people!
It seems these departments just want muscle head, low intelligence morons who will just do what they are told without any thought for the Constitution or people rights. Their hiring standards are very low. They are not being trained to talk to people like human beings with respect and to be helpfull.
From the video it looked like this moron cop was over 200 lbs. and she was a helpless elderly woman. The terrified woman was pinned down by over 200 lbs. of his fat body weight, unable to move, while he repeatedly pummeled her face doing severe damage..... but don't get angry guys, he was just protecting her!
Sounds to me like they are scrambling to find any little thing that will make this woman look like a danger to herself or crazy. In any case, this was not acceptable!
The he-man hero cop should be fired immediately! But instead, and the way it usually is, his superiors will make excuses for him and say he followed protocol. They will do whatever it takes to protect him. He will be on desk duty for a while then back on the road abusing more people.
It is getting to a point in this country where the militant police are more of a danger to you than the criminals. At least you have recourse against the criminals.
No judge in the country should find fault with a person for defending themselves against unjust harm or possible death from the actions of an out of control cop, wether that means beating him down or much worse. THEY WOULD DESERVE IT!
The worst kind of terrorism is when the very people who take an oath to serve you and protect your rights, who have great power over you, use that power to abuse you, strike fear into you, beat you, maime you, or kill you.
The establishment have not and will not do much about this unless the situation is so blatant and bad that there is no way they can excuse it.
Incidences like this are not isolated, they are happening all over the country with concerning regularity.
People are going to take only so much of this..... watch and see.
To the California Highway Patrol cop:
YOU GIVE A NEW MEANING TO THE WORD PIG!