Professor reacts to video of officer punching woman, police investigating

Updated: Saturday, July 5 2014, 07:37 PM EDT
Professor reacts to video of officer punching woman, police investigating story image
LOS ANGELES (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A viral video that shows a California Highway Patrol officer beating a woman alongside a Los Angeles freeway could have larger implications for other law enforcement agencies.

Bigad Shaban speaks to one professor who worries the incident could resurrect old fears.

We do want to warn you, some of this video is graphic in nature.

The California Highway Patrol is now investigating one of its own after cell phone video captured this officer repeatedly punching a woman on the side of a busy Los Angeles freeway.

Jody Armour, a criminal law professor at the University of Southern California, says, "I was shocked, but also not surprised," when asked his reaction to the video.

"I would say these are among the worst times, in terms of police image and community relations, since the Rodney King tape," Armour says.

He says the questions, surrounding the patrol officer's actions, could hurt public perception of other law enforcement agencies in the Los Angeles area, including the Los Angeles Police Department.

Up until last year, the Department of Justice had special oversight of the LAPD because of what it described as a pattern of police misconduct. That consent decree lasted more than 10 years.

As for Tuesday's incident with the highway patrol officer, his report of what happened said the barefoot woman ignored his orders to stay away from the freeway, so he tried to take her into custody to protect her.
Armour says, "They need to find out what happened before this footage started recording, and were there any circumstances that could be used to justify what we saw."

He says a full investigation could take months.

The chief of the California Highway Patrol says the agency will look into every fact that led up to the incident, in hopes of coming to a just conclusion as why it happened the way it did.Professor reacts to video of officer punching woman, police investigating
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