LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The California Highway Patrol is investigating one of its own after cell phone video captured an officer repeatedly punching a woman on the side of a Los Angeles freeway.
But civil rights leaders in Los Angeles are calling on the federal government to launch its own probe.
“To subdue, that’s one thing, but to beat that’s another thing,” said political analyst, author Earl Ofari Hutchinson. “The officer crossed the line.”
The CHP says it can handle the investigation on its own. The agency said it will look into every fact that led up to the incident to find out why it happened the way it did.
University of Southern California criminal law professor Jody Armor was shocked by the video, but not surprised. He said the patrol officer’s actions could hurt the public perception of all law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department.
“I would say these are among the worst times, in terms of police image and community relations since the Rodney King tape,” said Armor.
The 1991 brutal beating of Rodney King sparked a public outcry for reform within the LAPD.
Up until last year, the Department of Justice had special oversight of the city’s police force because of what it described as a pattern of misconduct. That “consent decree” lasted more than 10 years.
As for Tuesday’s incident, the CHP officer said the barefoot woman ignored his orders to stay away from the freeway, so he tried to take the woman into custody to protect her.