April V. Taylor
Merlene Pinnock, a 51-year-old grandmother who was repeatedly punched by a California Highway Patrol Officer, has decided to settle her case against the CHP for $1.5 million. The settlement was confirmed to the Associated Press by CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow and Pinnock’s attorney. Farrow stated, “When this incident occurred, I promised that I would look into it and vowed a swift resolution. Today, we have worked constructively to reach a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to all parties involved.” Farrow also stated that Officer Daniel Andrew, who was responsible for the beating, voluntarily resigned after being on paid administrative leave since the incident.
Pinnock’s attorney Caree Harper had the following to say about her client’s settlement, “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, and that the officer was not going to be an officer anymore and we secured those things.”
The incident occurred on July 1st on the Santa Monica freeway and was captured on cell phone video by passing motorist David Diaz. CHP originally tried to justify the officer’s actions by stating that he had pulled Pinnock from traffic and was trying to protect her from harm. In a statement, Pinnock revealed that she believes Andrew was trying to kill her. He can be seen on video of the incident hitting Pinnock multiple times with a closed fist.
Andrew could still be criminally charged for his actions. Results of an investigation conducted by CHP have been sent to the Los Angeles County prosecutors office. A record from CHP had stated that Pinnock was not injured and refused medical treatment, but according to medical records, Pinnock was hospitalized for a month for a traumatic brain injury following the incident.