Grandmother Marlene Pinnock, who was recorded on video being tackled and punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer, said in an interview (video below) that Officer Daniel L. Andrew was trying to kill her. “I don’t know why,” she said between tears.
The incident happened on the side of the Interstate 10 freeway in Los Angeles and was captured by the camera of a nearby motorist. Pinnock claims, as verified in the video, that the officer with the CHP was “giving it all he had.”
Officer Andrew’s official report says that he commanded Pinnock to get off the freeway near the La Brea interchange and she did not respond. Since the July 1 incident, California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joseph Farrow has said only that “My response … was one of grave concern, if not shocking.” Andrew continues to draw a paycheck from the CHP, working now in a non-patrol, desk position.
Pinnock filed a civil rights lawsuit last month over the July 1 incident. One of her attorneys, Caree Harper, has called for criminal charges against Andrew. Furthermore, Harper and her colleague, John Burris, openly speculate that the California Highway Patrol may be attempting to vilify Pinnock, wondering aloud about the purpose of the felony search warrant CHP has presented to the psychiatric facility where Pinnock was held.
The lawsuit against Andrew alleges that he first threw Pinnock to the ground “violently,” then proceeded to punch her 10 to 15 times while ripping off some of her clothing. “He exposed me … my clothes were up,” she said. Also named as defendants are Andrew’s boss, Commissioner Farrow, and CHP investigator S. Taketa.
The Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, a public policy forum, and other civil rights advocates, have called on California Governor Jerry Brown to get involved. Media critic and sociologist Earl Ofari Hutchinson said that in the seven weeks since the beating, the CHP has “maintained a wall of silence” around the event. “Are they in fact going to punish the officer who beat Marlene Pinnock?” he asked.
Pinnock wants to see Andrew fired while attorney Harper wants to prosecute him as a criminal, perhaps for attempted murder. She said Andrew could have killed Pinnock “and his boss has literally done nothing but cover it up.” During the bashing, Pinnock has said that “He wasn’t saying anything, he was just socking me.”
The California Highway Patrol has said that Andrew was attempting to stop Pinnock from “hurting herself and others” because she was walking into traffic. An internal investigation by CHP continues and, according to a spokesperson, any disciplinary action against Andrew would not occur until that investigation is complete. That should happen “within the next several weeks,” he said. Through the investigation, the CHP has been in contact with the Los Angeles Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.
Pinnock’s recovery lasted several weeks and her injuries reportedly were both physical and psychological. An account has been created to accept donations for the 51-year-old grandmother’s expenses at Wells Fargo Bank. The account is identified as Marlene Pinnock 5052.
“I just think why me? Why did it happen to me? What did I do?”
By Gregory Baskin