Los Angeles: The prosecutors have declined to file criminal charges against a former California Highway Patrol officer who was caught in a cell phone video beating a black, mentally ill, homeless woman beside a freeway last year, officials said.
The decision comes amid heightened scrutiny of law enforcement following high-profile killings of unarmed black people across the United States since mid-2014 and protests against systemic racism and police violence under the banner of Black Lives Matter.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney`s Office said on Thursday that Officer Daniel Andrew did not use unreasonable or excessive force when he pulled Marlene Pinnock to the ground and punched her around a dozen times about the head and shoulders.
Prosecutors said Andrew, who is white, had tried for several minutes to keep Pinnock from walking into traffic on the Interstate 10 freeway in Los Angeles on the evening of July 1, 2014, and that she resisted his efforts.
The office said the amount of force Andrew used was "legal and necessary to protect not only his own life but also that of Ms. Pinnock."
"When looking at all of the evidence, and especially the medical reports and eyewitness accounts, it becomes exceedingly clear that the officer, who was alone and struggling with Ms Pinnock precariously close to evening freeway traffic, acted within the law," District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement.
A 42-second video of the incident, which was recorded on a passing motorist`s cell phone and uploaded to social media, drew widespread outrage after going viral.
The California Highway Patrol said last September that Andrew had resigned from the force, and that the agency agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit by Pinnock. She said she was left with slurred speech after the incident.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Andrew`s last day on the job was on Tuesday.