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Former CHP officer charged with assaulting woman during traffic stop

A now-retired California Highway Patrol officer has been charged with assault for allegedly punching a woman in the face during a Santa Clarita traffic stop last year.

Todd Cookston, 54, is set to be arraigned April 25 on one felony count of assault under the color of authority.

Cookston detained a 21-year-old woman on Interstate 5 near Santa Clarita last March 2 and punched her in the face after the woman stepped outside her vehicle and an altercation ensued, according to the District Attorney's Office.

In a statement announcing the charges, District Attorney George Gascon said, "The alleged behavior exhibited by this officer was reprehensible.

No woman should be detained in the middle of the night and punched in the face because an officer lost his temper. Excessive force by law enforcement officers will not be tolerated in Los Angeles County."

The case remains under investigation by the CHP.

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