LOS ANGELES -- A California Highway Patrol officer who was videotaped repeatedly striking a woman on the side of a Los Angeles freeway could face "potentially serious charges," the agency said Wednesday after forwarding its investigation to the district attorney.
Officer Daniel Andrew, who was given a desk assignment after the incident, was removed from duty and put on paid administrative leave, the CHP said. The agency didn't reveal if it made a recommendation to prosecutors but said in a news release that its report outlined potentially serious charges he could face.
It didn't specify possible charges. The July 1 incident sparked outrage as video showed Andrew hitting Marlene Pinnock, several times on the side of Interstate 10. Pinnock, who says she is homeless, is a 51-year-old grandmother, reports CBS LA.
Andrew said in his report that Pinnock was a danger to herself and had tried to walk into traffic lanes.
Drivers had called emergency dispatchers to report that a barefoot woman was on the freeway shoulder who appeared drunk or high. Pinnock has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was off her medication for two to three months before the altercation with Andrew, said Pinnock's attorney Caree Harper.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Pinnock said she believed the officer was trying to kill her.
"He grabbed me, he threw me down, he started beating me," she said. "I felt like he was trying to kill me, beat me to death."
Pinnock filed a lawsuit against CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow and Andrew in federal court for civil rights violations. The lawsuit claims excessive force, assault, battery and a violation of her due-process rights.
The DA's office will review the investigation and decide on the filing of criminal charges against Andrew, reports CBS LA. The CHP also has an internal administrative investigation underway, reports the station.