The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has one of its officers under investigation after a passing motorist on a Los Angeles highway videotaped a CHP officer sitting on top of a woman’s chest and relentlessly pummeling her. Fox News quoted Chris O'Quinn, Assistant Chief for CHP, at a July 4 press conference as saying that the officer was simply “trying to restrain a woman who'd been walking on Interstate 10, endangering herself and people in traffic.”
David Diaz was the motorist who witnessed the July 1 alleged CHP assault and videotaped the officer punching the woman numerous times as he sat on top of her. Diaz shared the graphically violent video with local news outlets. CHP is not releasing the identity of the officer while they review the video and investigate the incident further. For now, the officer is on administrative leave. Quin also would not identify the alleged victim, but said that she “was not injured and is undergoing psychiatric evaluation.”
Yahoo! News described the alleged victim as “barefoot and harmless.” The video provided by Diaz depicts the officer engaged in a foot chase with the woman along traffic heavy Interstate 10. When the CHP officer finally catches up to the woman, he can be seen spinning her around and forcing her down onto the shoulder of the freeway. After a brief struggle, the woman is eventually subdued,
but the officer ends up on top. From that position, he begins punching her rapidly in the head.
The audio portion of the video captures Diaz as saying “He is beating her up, yo,” to which a female voice can be heard asking “Oh my gosh, why?” The video captured the officer punching the woman numerous times in rapid succession as he sat on top of her and kept her with her back pinned to the ground. As the officer rolled the woman over onto her stomach to handcuff her, another man can be seen on the video running up to the scene of the altercation to assist the officer.
Diaz noted that the officer was much larger in stature than the woman, adding that, “I think he punched her in the head 15 times.” Another witness on the scene said that the woman taking the beating “did not look well, mentally.”
As the officer was punching her, “she looked terrified…she just looked gone.”
News outlets theorize that the woman may be homeless. She was described as shoeless and carrying several bags. CHP released a statement regarding the incident which read:
“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.”