LOS ANGELES -- A cellphone video depicting a California Highway Patrol office punching a woman along the side of a freeway Tuesday evening has the agency investigating accusations of excessive force.
In the video posted to YouTube, an officer is seen punching a woman on the ground more than 11 times in the face. She does not appear to resist, although what started the confrontation is unclear, reports CBS Los Angeles. The video was shot by a driver passing by.
On Thursday, the CHP issued a statement that said: "The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is aware of the video and we are looking into the incident. 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."
CBS Los Angeles reports that when the video starts, the officer is seen trying to detain the woman. She gets a few steps away from him, but he gets her to the ground.
The officer briefly struggles with her before repeatedly punching her in the face.
After a few moments, a plainclothes officer enters the picture and helps the CHP officer put the woman in handcuffs.
The man who shot the video told CBS Los Angeles that he saw the barefoot woman walking around the off-ramp when he noticed a CHP officer chase her around a truck.
"He just pounded her," said David Diaz. "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."
He added, "I find it hard to believe there [was] no other remedy in this situation."
On Friday, Chris O'Quinn, the chief of the CHP southern division, told CBS News the incident would be thoroughly reviewed.
"We're looking at every possibility, every fact, every circumstance that contributed to this situation. And we are going to try to come to just conclusion as to why it occurred," O'Quinn said.
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