Woman punched by California officer settles for $1.5M, officer to resign

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FILE - This Aug. 10, 2014 file photo shows Marlene Pinnock during an interview in Los Angeles. A woman punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol officer in an incident caught on video will receive $1.5 million under a newly reached settlement, and the officer has agreed to resign. CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow confirmed the settlement in an emailed statement Wednesday night Sept. 24, 2014 and an attorney for Marlene Pinnock confirmed the terms for The Associated Press. (AP Photo/John Hopper, File)


FILE - In this July 1, 2014 file image made from video provided by motorist David Diaz, a California Highway Patrol officer straddles a woman while punching her on the shoulder of a Los Angeles freeway. A woman punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol officer in an incident caught on video will receive $1.5 million under a newly reached settlement, and the officer has agreed to resign. CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow confirmed the settlement in an emailed statement Wednesday night Sept. 24, 2014 and an attorney for Marlene Pinnock confirmed the terms for The Associated Press. (AP Photo/David Diaz, File)


LOS ANGELES — A woman punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol officer on the side of a freeway in an incident caught on video will receive $1.5 million under a settlement, and the officer has agreed to resign.

CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow confirmed the settlement in an emailed statement and an attorney for Marlene Pinnock confirmed the dollar amount for The Associated Press.

The punching occurred after motorists' 911 calls reported that Pinnock, who is bipolar, was walking along the freeway and the responding officer pulled her from traffic, according to a legal document in the case.

Wednesday's settlement agreement came after a nine-hour mediation session in Los Angeles.

"When this incident occurred, I promised that I would look into it and vowed a swift resolution," Farrow's statement said. "Today, we have worked constructively to reach a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to all parties involved."

The statement said that Officer Daniel Andrew, who joined the CHP in 2012 and has been on paid administrative leave since the incident, "has elected to resign."

Andrew could still be charged criminally in the case. The CHP forwarded the results of its investigation of the incident to Los Angeles County prosecutors last month, saying he could face serious charges but none have been filed yet.

The bulk of the settlement will take the form of a special needs trust for Pinnock, the CHP said.

Pinnock's attorney Caree Harper said the settlement fulfilled the two elements her side was looking for.

"One of the things we wanted to make sure of was that she was provided for in a manner that accommodated her unique situation in life," Harper said, "and that the officer was not going to be an officer anymore and we secured those things."

Harper said Pinnock will be interviewed by the district attorney's office within a few weeks.

The July 1 video of Andrew punching Pinnock was recorded by a passing driver on Interstate 10 west of downtown Los Angeles.

According to a search warrant made public in court documents last month, Andrew had just pulled Pinnock from oncoming traffic and she resisted by pushing him after multiple drivers called 911 to report her walking barefoot along the side of the freeway.

Andrew then straddled her on the ground as Pinnock resisted by "kicking her legs, grabbing the officer's uniform and twisting her body," the warrant said. Andrew "struck her in the upper torso and head several times with a closed right fist," the records say.

The warrant said Pinnock suffered no signs of physical injury and refused medical treatment. She was placed on a psychiatric hold for two weeks.

Pinnock has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been off her medication for two to three months before the altercation.

In an interview with the AP last month, Pinnock said she believed the officer was trying to kill her.

"He grabbed me, he threw me down, he started beating me," she said. "I felt like he was trying to kill me, beat me to death."

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Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams

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