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Interview with California police beating victim and attorney

By News | Last updated: Aug 28, 2014 - 6:03:22 PM

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‘Was he ever going to stop beating me?’

Marlene Pinnock (front) and her Attorney Caree Harper. Photo: Charlene Muhammad
Marlene Pinnock survived a very brutal and public beating from California Highway Patrol Officer Daniel Andrew that was caught on cell phone video and went viral. Though still recovering from the July 1 assault that occurred on the side of the Santa Monica Freeway, there is another side to the 51-year-old grandmother.  She loves to write songs, sing and play the piano. Nearly two months after she was attacked, she granted an interview to The Final Call. Ms. Pinnock and her attorney Caree Harper took time during their battle for justice to discuss with Final Call National Correspondent Charlene Muhammad how the beating has affected her and how she’s trying to piece her life back together.

Charlene Muhammad (The Final Call):  Thank you for speaking with The Final Call as people have so many questions. A lot of times media just wants to get to that question why she was out there in the first place.

Attorney Caree Harper (CH):  We’re prepared to answer that question at this time because it gives context and I’m tired of it being asked and people thinking it was for a sinister purpose. The fact of the matter is when you live in a way that you have to be on the go, you have to go places where you can sleep safely.  Some places aren’t accessible by sidewalk or by roadway, so she wasn’t actually on the freeway.  She was on a ramp, on an area off the roadway, not in traffic, but going to a place where someone was going to watch her sleep for a few hours that she could safely sleep … You’ve got to be at a place where you can trust people and then you have to be awake because it’s a safety issue.

We did a radio show … and they asked why was she on the freeway? I said well why did he hit her?  Is that really your main focus?  The main focus is why did he hit her?

CM: How are you feeling today?

Marlene Pinnock (MP): I’m feeling a little down, not too good.

CH:  She’s injured, and injury is not limited to physical injuries.  There are emotional injuries and there’s exacerbation of mental health injuries and emotional injuries.  But, physically, we have photos of her back.  She looks like old school, fresh from the middle passage like she’s been whipped from the gravel on her back.

…  Her nose was bleeding.  They wouldn’t let her wipe it. She had two black eyes.  They hid her under aliases so she can heal.

FC:  Was the officer making any statements when he was beating you?

MP:  He didn’t say anything.  He said not anything.  He just was beating me, as though he was trying to kill me, like he was trying to beat me to death.  He wouldn’t stop beating me.  He just kept on beating, like he was never going to stop.

FC:  You’ve said before in reports the officer knew you.  (Atty. Harper clarified, she said the officer may have had one or two contacts and may have addressed her by her last name.)  What were those encounters like?

MP:  He was over there with the other guys.  He wasn’t saying nothing to me.  He was over there with the other officers, the other police officers (in previous encounters).

FC:  Based on those encounters, would you expect something like that from him or was it just out of anywhere?

MP:  There was not any way I would have ever expected that it could be him or anyone!

FC:  What was that like?  As this is happening what’s going through your mind? 

MP:  I was wondering was he ever going to stop beating me? What is he beating me for?  I didn’t do nothing to him.  Why is he beating me? When is he going to stop beating me and allow me to put my garment down, my dress down, my clothing down.  He exposed me from the back to the front.  I was on my back and then somehow I managed to turn over to my stomach and I was trying to reach my head so I could put down my garment, my clothing, and I was unable to do so.  He would pin my hands back down every time I would try.

FC:  How are you piecing it all back together?

CH:  One step at a time.  We’re not going to let this sister go down like that.  We’re going to keep her off the street, and she has residence at an undisclosed location.  And she’s learning how to use a cell phone.  She’s learning how to use modern technology, and she’s becoming acclimated back into the world, because we know off the grid for a period of time, things change so quickly that it’s hard for us to keep up with it.  We’re not going to let her slip through the system like the system let her slip through the system.  She’s not going out like that.

FC:  What do you want people to know about you?

MP:  That I have nightmares.  I wake up screaming, and I still have lumps on me.  For a lifetime … I’m going to feel just ugly that a man, that an officer allowed, I mean, he showed my (naked) body parts while he’s openly socking me and trying to kill me and just roughing me.  And I wish he would lose his job, and go to jail.

CH:  Here’s the thing.  They say he’s been on the force a year, a year and a half.  I believe he’s either a lateral transfer or someone who worked in the jail, who felt free to beat her, because nobody is that bold right out training.  You do not get that bold without getting away with it multiple times.  He’s kicked plenty a—in his career.

MP:  I don’t appreciate being beat like I’m a man instead of a woman.

FC:  That’s what shocked the world.

CH: In a year and a half you don’t break that bad.  You have had years of doing that.  You’ve gotten away with it for years.  You don’t break that bad in broad daylight. No. No. No! … He forgot where he was.  He thought he was back in the jail where he could just kick a—and nobody knows.  That’s what my gut thinks.

FC:  Thank you.