Marlene Pinnock became a household name when video emerged of a Black woman being repeatedly punched and socked by a white police officer on the side of a freeway. Her videotaped beating would add to the recent rallying cry by African-Americans nationwide protesting police brutality and the killing of unarmed Black people.
At the time Pinnock was 51-years-old and had been off of her medication to control her bipolar disorder for several months. She had been walking on the side of a Los Angeles freeway when California Highway Patrol Officer Daniel Andrew came upon her and the rest is history.
In the video you can see Pinnock receive multiple blows to her body and head by Officer Daniel Andrew.
According to court documents made public, Andrew claimed he had pulled a barefoot Pinnock from oncoming traffic and that she resisted by pushing him. Andrew claimed that he then straddled her on the ground but that she resisted by “kicking her legs, grabbing the officer’s uniform and twisting her body.”
Andrew “struck her in the upper torso and head several times with a closed right fist,” the records say. CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow and Assistant Commissioner Chris O’Quinnargued that Daniel Andrew’s actions (blows to Pinnock’s face and body) were to “protect her” they said from the slow moving rush hour traffic.
The incident was caught on video by a passing driver and quickly spread on social media and television news receiving millions of views. Once news broke of her beating, the CHP and the County of Los Angeles conspired to hide Pinnock under multiple aliases and hospitals, according to her attorney. While the CHP was less than truthful in the beginning about Ms. Pinnock’s injuries, medical records later revealed that she was hospitalized for a month behind former Officer Andrew’s repeated blows to her head. CHP investigators seized Pinnock’s medical records via a search warrant, according to the Associated Press.
“There was a direct attempt to discredit Ms. Pinnock by the CHP,” said her attorney Caree Harper. “They wanted to assassinate my client’s character because she had an illness that is suffered by millions of Americans including journalist Jane Pauley.”
It didn’t work. A federal lawsuit was filed against the CHP in July, 2014, and on September 24, 2014, the case settled. Attorney Caree Harper set precedent by obtaining terms in the actual settlement agreement that dictated the termination of the officers’ employment with the California Highway Patrol. Attorney Harper secured a $1.5 million dollar settlement for her client Marlene Pinnock, most of which was placed in a trust which was in January of this year. Harper also provided her client with shelter, food, transportation, private medical assistants and basic essentials until the trust was completed.
Since then attorney Harper along with Black civil rights leaders have been lobbying Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey to charge Officer Andrew with attempted murder or at the very least felony assault under color of authority.
Under California law, DA Lacey has until July 1, 2015 to bring misdemeanor charges against Officer Andrew and until July 1, 2017 to bring felony charges—included attempted murder or assault.
Lacey, who made history as Los Angeles County’s first Black and first female elected district attorney, has been tight lipped on the Pinnock case instead seemingly choosing to focus on her reelection that is scheduled for 2016.
Lacey, Pinnock’s attorney pointed out, refused to press charged against the police officers involved in the 2012 death ofKendrec McDade, also represented at the time by Harper. McDade, 19, was shot to death on Mar. 24, 2012 when Officers Jeffrey Newlen and Mathew Griffin of the Pasadena Police Department responded to a report of armed theft of a man near a food truck.
Lacey deemed that the officers had acted lawfully when they shot McDade because the police officers reasonable believed that he was armed with a gun based on the information from the 911 call—even though that information was later proven to be false.
“This is a DA who did not obtain Michael Gennaco’s report from the Office of Independent Review’s on the McDade shooting that criticized the officer’s tactics and decisions. Because of Lacey’s decision to take no action, as of March 24, 2015 the statute of limitations expired and those officers can no longer be prosecuted” said attorney Caree Harper.
Ms. Pinnock is currently living in Los Angeles and working with her attorney and community activists to lobby District Attorney Jackie Lacey to press charges against Officer Daniel Andrew before the statute of limitations runs out. Her attorney, Caree Harper, a champion of civil rights and the underserved, continues to be involved in several high profile police misconduct cases including the beating of Clinton Alford by the LAPD, the takedown of a pregnant woman by Barstow police and the recent tragic shooting of Walter DeLeon also by the LAPD on June 19, 2015.
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey can be reached by calling (213) 974-3512.
Attorney Caree Harper can be reached at www.careeharper.com.
Jasmyne A. Cannick is based in Los Angeles and can be reached at jasmyneonline.com or on Twitter @Jasmyne.