Local activists were calling for a federal investigation Friday after a video posted to YouTube showed a CHP officer repeatedly hitting a woman in the face on the side of a Los Angeles freeway.
The video footage, posted by David Diaz, shows the officer try to grab the woman's arm as she appears to resist near the eastbound 10 Freeway.
As he tries to gain control over the woman, he throws her to the ground. While the woman is on her back, the officer holds her down and delivers about a dozen hits to her head and upper body in about 11 seconds, according to the video.
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Activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson said there was no possible justification for what he saw in the video.
“Subduing is one thing if you’re going to make a lawful arrest. There’s no question about that. You have the authority to do that,” Hutchinson said. “But a punch and a beating? I’m sorry, you’ve crossed the line.”
The activists said they believe the woman in the video may have been homeless and mentally ill. CHP officials confirmed that she was in custody on a 72-hour mental health evaulation.
“I represent for the women that are upset they're concerned and now they are fearful,” added activist Lita Herron. “They're actually admitting that now they're afraid to be stopped by highway patrol.”
The activists called for a meeting with the head of the CHP, and activist Pedro Baez said he was shocked because the agency has an admirable record on issues of community relations and racial profiling.
“We saw something that was just repulsive, reprehensible and totally out of character for them,” Baez said.
The agency issued an updated statement on the video Friday morning.
"The California Highway Patrol (CHP) just became aware of the video today and we are investigating the entire incident," according to the statement. "As a matter of policy, every time there is a use of force by our officers, there is a review conducted to determine whether the use of force was appropriate. That will be done in this case, however, since there is an ongoing investigation, it would be premature to comment on this specific video segment. After the investigation is completed it will be reviewed at multiple levels within the Department."