A CHP officer near the entrance to an major Los Angeles freeway tackled a woman then punched her in the face 11 times as he had her pinned on the ground — and a passing driver caught the whole horrifying scene on cell phone video.
Now the video is making news in Los Angeles and around the country, and the California Highway Patrol says it is looking into whether the unidentified officer used “appropriate” force in making the arrest.
The shocking video is included in the news report from L.A.’s KABC TV, above.
“He starts really letting loose, he starts doing some haymakers,” motorist David Diaz, who filmed the incident on his cell phone, described to KABC. “He starts pounding down on her face really hard. He doesn’t try to grab her arm, he doesn’t try to do anything first. He’s really pounding her head in, into the pavement.”
The frightening altercation appeared to start at about 5:40 pm, when the CHP received a call reporting a barefoot woman walking on the eastbound side of I-10 Freeway, near the La Brea exit in central Los Angeles. What the woman was doing there has not been explained.
When the CHP officer arrived, he ordered the woman to stop, but according to a CHP statement she ignored his commands. The CHP said that when the officer tried to arrest her, she resisted.
At that point the CHP officer tackled the woman and immediately began raining down punches on her. By one count, he struck her with 11 punches, though Diaz thought it was more than that.
“He just pounded her,” Diaz told another L.A. TV station, CBS 2. “If you look at the video, there are 15 hits. To the head, and not just simple jabs. These are blows to the head. Blows. Really serious blows. And this is ridiculous to me.”
Diaz said that he believes the incident is an unambiguous case of excessive force. “There is no way you can justify that,” he said.
Initially, the CHP declined to comment on the video, but by Thursday, two days after the video became public, the CHP issued a statement:
“The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is aware of the video and we are looking into the incident,” CHP Sergeant Denise Joslin said. “As a matter of policy, every time there is a use of force by our officers, there is a review conducted to determine whether the use of force was appropriate. That will be done in this case, however, since there is an ongoing investigation, it would be premature to comment on this specific video segment without reviewing the entire incident.”
The woman seen in the video being punched in the face by the CHP officer was taken to a hospital for evaluation. She has not yet been identified publicly.