The Los Angeles Times reported today (see article here) that the California Highway Patrol has agreed to settle a civil rights police brutality claim for $1.5 Million. The plaintiff, Marlene Pinnock, was a 51 year old woman who was held on the ground and repeatedly punched by a CHP officer on the side of the 10 freeway near Los Angeles. The beating was videotaped by a passing motorist and the videotape sparked widespread protest. I thought I would use this incident to explore the legal aspects of such claims.
What is the legal standard for a civil rights violation or other claims for personal injury in California and under Federal Law related to police brutality?
The main statute pertinent to these types of claims is a federal statute found in chapter 42 of the United States Code at section 1983 which states, in pertinent part, as follows: