Family Members Plan to File Civil Suit on Behalf of Woman Punched by CHP Officer

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The family of Marlene Pinnock, a woman who was thrown to the ground and punched repeatedly by a CHP officer in an incident caught on video, announced Sunday that they intend to file a civil-rights lawsuit on her behalf.

Marlene Pinnock is seen in a family photo.

Marlene Pinnock is seen in a family photo.

The encounter occurred after Pinnock wandered onto the shoulder of the 10 Freeway near La Brea Avenue, and was recorded by a passing motorist.

At a news conference in Willowbrook, Pinnock’s daughter described her as a “loving” and “happy” great-grandmother.

“She’s a nice lady. I don’t understand why this would happen to her," said Maisha Allums. “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone else.”

Attorneys representing Pinnock also attended the news conference, and expressed their belief that the CHP officer – who has been suspended with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation – should not be paid. They said an off-duty officer who helped subdue Pinnock should be suspended as well.

“It’s our opinion that the CHP officer is the one who is a danger to others. We believe he fits the criteria of 5150 of the welfare and institutions code, and he should be involuntarily detained,” said civil-rights lawyer Caree Harper, referring to the section of California law that regulates an involuntary psychiatric hold. The CHP invoked the 5150 section in taking Pinnock into custody.

Video shot by a motorist showed a CHP officer throwing a woman to the ground, straddle her body and repeatedly punching her. (Credit: David Diaz)

Video shot by a motorist showed a CHP officer throwing a woman to the ground, straddle her body and repeatedly punching her. (Credit: David Diaz)

“The tape only shows a small part of what transpired,” CHP Assistant Chief Chris O’Quinn said at a news conference on Friday. “There were events that led up to this. Until all that’s collected and put into perspective, we aren’t going to be able to make a determination.”

He said the agency would not comment on the details of the incident during its investigation, which he predicted would conclude in the coming weeks.

“What caused the officer to respond in the way he has has not been thoroughly evaluated, so I don’t want to provide you with an opinion,” O’Quinn told reporters.

Pinnock's relatives also questioned the quality of care she was receiving at a facility in South Los Angeles, where they have visited her on two occasions.

They said they intend to mobilize their own medical trauma experts, and hoped to relocate her to a location that is not operated by Los Angeles County.

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