Grandmother Speaks About Cop Beating: ‘I Felt Like He Was Trying to Kill Me’

Video footage of the July 1, 2014, incident shows an officer on top of Marlene Pinnock.
NBC Los Angeles 4 Screenshot
Video footage of the July 1, 2014, incident shows an officer on top of Marlene Pinnock.
NBC Los Angeles 4 Screenshot

Marlene Pinnock, the African-American grandmother whose July 1 beating by a California Highway Patrol officer went viral after video footage was loaded on the Internet, spoke for the first time since the incident, telling the Associated Press in an exclusive interview that she thought the officer was going to "kill her."

The video footage, which was recorded by a passing motorist, shows Pinnock wandering on the side of a Los Angeles freeway and being chased by an officer. The officer then throws Pinnock to the ground, sits on her waist and begins punching her in the face with a closed fist.

According to AP, which spoke with Pinnock and her attorney, Caree Harper, Pinnock is homeless and has been for a few years. She told AP that on the day of the incident, she was walking along Interstate 10 toward a place where someone could "watch her sleep," when she was approached by the officer, who has not been identified by the CHP. The place where she was headed is accessible only via the freeway.  

"He grabbed me, he threw me down, he started beating me, he beat me," Pinnock told AP. "I felt like he was trying to kill me, beat me to death." Pinnock told the news service that she was in the hospital for several weeks after the altercation, and her attorney noted that she now slurs her speech, AP reports.


AP noted that throughout the interview, Pinnock would put her hands to her temple and grimace.  She is suing CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow and Officer Daniel L. Andrew for civil right violations, AP notes. The suit, viewed by AP, "claims excessive force, assault, battery and a violation of Pinnock's due process rights."  

The CHP has claimed that an internal investigation would happen quickly, and according to AP, the CHP has placed the officer involved on desk duty, pending an investigation. While the CHP has yet to speak in defense of the officer's actions, it has stated that Pinnock was "endangering herself by walking on Interstate 10, and the officer was trying to restrain her," AP notes.

The officer, who, according to documents viewed by AP, is the aforementioned Andrew, placed Pinnock on an involuntary psychiatric hold, claiming that she was a threat to herself. In the report viewed by AP, the officer wrote that "the subject began telling me 'I want to walk home' and called me 'the devil.' The subject then tried to walk into traffic lanes."

Pinnock's attorney wouldn't allow her to discuss the details surrounding the incident or her medical treatment, according to AP.

"If, in fact, she did call him the devil is secondary to the fact that he proved to be either the devil or a close relative," Harper told the news service. "Because he treated her in a manner nobody should ever be treated."


Pinnock is currently living off the kindness of her attorney, who is keeping her off the streets. She was just in the hospital last Thursday for "severe temple pain," Harper told AP.

Pinnock told the news service that since the altercation, she has been having "bad nightmares" about being beaten.


Read more at the Associated Press.

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