By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM
LOS ANGELES–The California Highway Patrolman videotaped ferociously beating 51-year-old grandmother Marlene Pinnock on a freeway on-ramp has been stripped of his peace officer duties.
The CHP has also forwarded results of its criminal investigation into Daniel Andrew’s July 1 attack to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
CHP indicated in an Aug. 20 press release that patrolman Andrew has been moved from desk duty to administrative leave and could face serious charges, but Attorney Caree Harper, who represents Ms. Pinnock, cautioned these latest developments aren’t as significant as they may sound or appear.
“Stripped of duties doesn’t mean anything … All that means is that he has to relinquish his service weapon and his badge, and he no longer has 24 hour police powers to effect and enforce the law,” Atty. Harper explained.
Mr. Andrew has to turn in the weapon he carries on duty, his ID and a badge, but he probably has other weapons, and he’s not showing his badge anywhere anyway because he doesn’t want people to know his face, she argued.
“What would be significant to me is a booking photo plain and simple, but notwithstanding a booking photo, our case is moving forward,” Atty. Harper told The Final Call.
The decision to file criminal charges now rests with prosecutors. Cooperation with the District Attorney’s Office in the ongoing criminal investigation will continue, said CHP officials.
Any who think the CHP’s move to revoke Mr. Andrew’s peace officer duties equals suggesting he was wrong are in error, said the attorney for Ms. Pinnock, who has filed a civil suit.
“They’re not admitting his wrongdoing at all! What they’re doing is they’re strategizing while appearing to be doing something,” Atty. Harper continued.
Attorneys for defendants Mr. Andrew, CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow, and CHP investigator identified as S. Taketa want to table the lawsuit for at least 90 days, according to Atty. Harper. That could extend to at least February 2015 given the holidays, she said.
On Aug. 30 she was preparing to file papers asking the court to expedite the process for both sides to gather witnesses and, evidence each planned to present and to begin deposing or questioning defendants and witnesses.
“If you delay, delay, delay, a lot of things can happen,” Atty. Harper said. “Witnesses move. Witnesses’ memories become foggy. Witnesses don’t want to testify, or they come under pressure, or they mysteriously get arrested for things because they’re known to be a witness,” she said.
Meanwhile, Pinnock supporters are still pushing for Mr. Andrew’s immediate termination and want California State Attorney Kamala Harris to intervene in the case.
“Investigate the facts regarding violation of Victims Civil Rights and pursue charges against the CHP and Officer,” urges a Change.org petition launched by a group identified as the People’s Investigation out of Northern California.
“This is Rodney King all over again and the CHP should be held accountable. Every American has rights that should be respected regardless of their situation. The woman was not armed, nor a threat to the much heavier and armed officer,” says the petition.