Agency: Woman pushed officer who then punched her

Updated at: 09/11/2014 8:21 PM
TAMI ABDOLLAH

(AP) LOS ANGELES - LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California Highway Patrol officer videotaped repeatedly punching a woman on the side of a Los Angeles freeway had just pulled her from oncoming traffic and she resisted by pushing him, a patrol investigator said.

Investigator Sean Taketa outlined the July 1 incident in a request to search 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock's medical records. The narrative in the search warrant was made public in court documents last month and is the first detailed account of the incident since a passing driver released cellphone video that went viral.

Pinnock's attorney, Caree Harper, said the video doesn't align with the investigator's account and shows her client is not resisting arrest before she's pinned and beaten by the officer.

Multiple drivers called 911 to report Pinnock walking barefoot along the side of the freeway.

Officer Daniel Andrew arrived and told Pinnock she could walk off or have a ride away from the freeway, according to the warrant. She walked away without listening to his instructions and moved partially into traffic, so Andrew "grabbed her arm to prevent her from being struck by traffic. Ms. Pinnock resisted by pushing the officer," the documents say.

Andrew then straddled her on the ground as Pinnock resisted by "kicking her legs, grabbing the officer's uniform and twisting her body," the investigator wrote. Andrew "struck her in the upper torso and head several times with a closed right fist," the records say.

The CHP said in its initial report that the officer arrested her out of fear for both of their safety.

Pinnock has filed suit in federal court, naming agency Commissioner Joe Farrow, Andrew and the investigator, Taketa. She alleges civil rights violations, excessive force, assault, battery and a violation of due-process rights.

The Los Angeles city attorney's office declined to file charges Aug. 19 against Pinnock for resisting a peace officer due to a lack of sufficient evidence, spokesman Rob Wilcox said.

Taketa said Pinnock suffered no signs of physical injury and refused medical treatment. She was ultimately placed on a psychiatric hold for two weeks, the warrant says. Harper said Pinnock had a bloody nose, black eyes, bruises and scratches on her back.

Harper didn't provide The Associated Press with medical documentation because she said the records from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where Pinnock was on psychiatric hold, weren't accurate or consistent in characterizing Pinnock's injuries. One doctor examined her and found no signs of physical trauma but another found facial swelling and ordered ibuprofen and ice packs, Harper said.

The warrant said the Highway Patrol was conducting a criminal investigation to determine if Andrew used excessive force and if he needlessly committed assault in his role as an officer. The agency forwarded its investigation to prosecutors for potentially serious charges last month.

Rep. Maxine Waters has called the incident unjustifiable police brutality and said Andrew should be fired. She's holding a news conference Friday with dozens of local women's groups, Pinnock and Harper to "demand justice" and ask for updates on the investigation.

Commissioner Farrow has said he was shocked by the video and met with community leaders multiple times since the incident. He vowed to expedite a comprehensive investigation.

The investigator said he was seeking the medical records to determine Pinnock's injuries and her treatment for a potential felony filing.

In an interview with the AP last month, Pinnock said she believed the officer was trying to kill her.

"He grabbed me, he threw me down, he started beating me," she said. "I felt like he was trying to kill me, beat me to death."

Pinnock has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been off her medication for two to three months before the altercation.

Andrew, who is on paid administrative leave, joined the Highway Patrol as a cadet in April 2012 and became an officer six months later. An attorney representing him did not immediately provide comment.

___

Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)