Originally published on September 26, 2014, at NationofChange.org
A homeless woman suffering from a mental disorder received $1.5 million after a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer was caught on video using excessive force against her. As part of the settlement, CHP Officer Daniel L. Andrew was forced to resign to prevent him from endangering other citizens under color of authority.
On July 1, Marlene Pinnock was walking barefoot along the La Brea off-ramp on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles when Officer Andrew confronted her. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder and off her medication at the time, 51-year-old Pinnock continued walking along the freeway when Andrew grabbed her from behind, threw her to the ground, straddled her body, and ripped her clothes while repeatedly punching her in the head and upper torso.
“He just pulled me, brutally, threw me down, started beating me,” recalled Pinnock. “Banging me, trying to kill me. Trying to beat me to death. Take my life away. For no reason. I did nothing to him.”
While witnessing the incident, music producer David Diaz drove by and filmed the vicious beating on his cell phone. As the video went viral, Pinnock was placed on a psychiatric hold for two weeks.
“That footage helps prove that what I’m saying is the truth, and I’m really grateful for that,” said Pinnock.
After filing a federal civil rights lawsuit in July, Pinnock agreed to settle this week on two conditions: that she receive enough money to be taken care of for life and that Officer Andrew must lose his job.
“It’s important that the community be protected against that officer,” stated Pinnock’s attorney, Caree Harper.
Andrew has been on paid administrative leave since the incident, but has recently agreed to resign. Although prosecutors have not charged Andrew with any crimes, Harper is pushing for criminal charges to be filed against him.
“We want him in prison,” Harper asserted. “I’m not done.”
According to the lawsuit, the CHP misused a felony search warrant to obtain a statement from Pinnock and subpoenaed her medical records. While hospitalized with a head injury and emotional trauma, her confidential conversations with her doctor had been turned over to the CHP.
“I just need and want justice for my mom. This shouldn’t have happened to her,” said Pinnock’s daughter, Maisha Allums. “I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”