Waters calls for investigation into freeway beating

7/10/2014, 3:08 p.m.
Footage posted on YouTube shows the CHP officer straddling Marlene Pinnock, 51, and hitting her at least 11 times.

LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-California) has called for a "thorough investigation" in light of a video showing a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer repeatedly punching a woman in the face on the 10 Freeway.

Footage posted on YouTube shows the CHP officer straddling Marlene Pinnock, 51, and hitting her at least 11 times. The cell phone camera footage shows Pinnock walking away from the unidentified officer on the side of the freeway. He then grabs her from behind, throws her to the ground, straddles her and then begins repeatedly punching her in the face and upper body.

Pinnock's family has said they will sue on her behalf.

The CHP says they are investigating and have placed the officer on administrative duty. See the video here.

Waters released the following statement on Thursday, July 10:

"In the wake of the recent video showing an African-American woman being viciously punched by a California Highway Patrol officer, we are once again witnessing a brutal attack on a human being by a law enforcement officer. And once again, we are hearing from law enforcement that no one knows the events leading up to what was caught on tape or what prompted the officer's actions.

"However, I maintain there is nothing that can justify the officer punching a helpless woman on a freeway. This type of police brutality happens too often with African-Americans and we have seen it time and time again. There are those who should know by now that we will not keep quiet when incidents like this occur.

"I have been fighting the battle against abusive law enforcement for years and it seems as if some police jurisdictions haven't learned anything about the outrage caused by officers when they use excessive force and brutal tactics.

"My history of fighting against police abuse dates back to the extensive organizing and rallying to confront former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates in response to abusive tactics against African-American men and women in the Los Angeles area, including the killing of Ms. Eula Love. We marched and rallied at Parker Center Headquarters and called for the removal of Mr. Gates as police chief. We also drew national attention to the killing of Ms. Love and have continued our struggle against police abuse in every instance where police use force to injure and kill innocent people.

"I stand with the community in demanding a complete and thorough investigation of this incident. Based on the video shown of the patrol officer's forceful punching of Marlene Pinnock, this is enough to demand his dismissal.

"Despite all of the work I have done to address the issue of police brutality in the past, I feel obligated to once again organize women in the community to speak out on this issue. We must demand justice and reforms that will create change within law enforcement to prevent this kind of abuse from continuing to happen."