A woman who was beaten by a California Highway Patrol officer alongside the Santa Monica (10) Freeway said Thursday she was happy with the $1.5 million she will receive from the agency as part of a settlement that also includes the resignation of the officer involved.
The July 1 beating of Marlene Pinnock, 51, was captured on cell phone video by David Diaz, a music producer who was driving along the freeway near La Brea Avenue and witnessed the altercation.
“I feel good about the settlement, and this chapter can be closed in my life and I can move on,” Pinnock said at her attorney’s office. “I want to thank God, and I want to thank Caree Harper, my lawyer, and the guy who took the video.”
The settlement was announced late Wednesday. As part of the agreement, Officer Daniel Andrew will resign.
“When this incident occurred, I promised that I would look into it and vowed a swift resolution,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Today, we have worked constructively to reach a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to all parties involved. I am thankful to the attorneys representing both sides who worked cooperatively and diligently to resolve this civil lawsuit.”
Farrow said much of the $1.5 million settlement money will be placed into a special-needs trust for Pinnock “to provide a mechanism for her long- term care.”
Pinnock suffers from bipolar disorder. Her attorney said Pinnock had not been taking her medication for several months prior to the run-in with Andrew.
CHP officials said after the July 1 confrontation that Pinnock was walking barefoot along the shoulder and occasionally in traffic lanes. When Pinnock did not respond to orders to stop, the officer got out and confronted her. The woman became combative, prompting the officer to place her under arrest, CHP officials said.
Cell phone video, however, showed Andrew repeatedly punching Pinnock in the head. An off-duty officer eventually showed up and helped handcuff the woman.
“Without the videotaped evidence, who would have possibly believed that a peace officer who is sworn to protect and serve would have beat her in broad daylight in rush hour traffic on one of the most busy freeways in the state, if not the country,” said Harper, Pinnock’s attorney.
The CHP forwarded the results of its investigation into Pinnock’s arrest to the District Attorney’s Office last month, saying Andrew could face “potentially serious charges.”
The case is still being reviewed, according to Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office.
Civil rights activists have been pressing District Attorney Jackie Lacey to file charges against the officer, who joined the CHP in 2012. They held a rally at the beating site today to renew their call for action by prosecutors.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, said he was beginning a national petition drive in hopes of pressuring Lacey to pursue criminal charges.
“The settlement with her (Pinnock) changes nothing,” Hutchinson said. “If anything it makes a prosecution more urgent now than ever. The national petition campaign simply underscores the determination of thousands to see justice fully done in the case.”
—City News Service
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