A highway patrol officer was filmed punching a woman on the side of a Los Angeles freeway last week in what appears to be the latest incident of police brutality in the area.
The officer said the woman was walking barefoot along the freeway on Tuesday and refused to stop when asked. The video shows the cop tackle her, pin her down, and start pummeling her in the face as she tries to shield her head. A passing driver, David Diaz, filmed the encounter and released it on Friday.
“He just pounded her,” Diaz told CBS Los Angeles. “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.”
Watch the original video below (warning: graphic violence):
At a news conference on Friday, the California Highway Patrol vowed to investigate the incident. They say the incident report listed no injuries for the woman, who refused to give her name.
But this is hardly the first charge of brutality against the CHP. The patrol nearly beat a truck driver to death in 2011 for asking to read a traffic ticket before signing it. California also had to pay out $250,000 last year to settle the case of a pregnant woman who was kneed and hogtied by an officer for talking on her cell phone while driving.
Police forces in the Los Angeles area have among the worst records in the country. The Department of Justice concluded last year that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department was systematically and illegally targeting blacks and Latinos, while the Los Angeles Police Department only just ended a decade of close federal monitoring for the same reason. Officers killed an unarmed mentally ill man last year. Yet cops who brutalize rarely face consequences. One month later, cops in nearby Fullerton, CA, were fully acquitted of murder after video caught them beating another mentally ill man, Kelly Thomas, to death.