Here’s what we can see:
A woman walks away from a police officer on the side of a Los Angeles highway. The officer, a male member of the California Highway Patrol, catches up to her, wrestles her to the ground and punches her repeatedly. The woman appears to take at least six blows to the head.
A stunning video of the encounter taken by a bystander has put the California Highway Patrol on the spot for possible use of excessive force. The man who shot the video, David Diaz, was sitting in his car when it happened around 6:30 p.m. on July 1. He believes the officer clearly overstepped his bounds.
"There was no weapons, it's obviously excess force at this point," Diaz told KABC in Los Angeles. "He could have easily calmed her down. You can use strength without punching."
The California Highway Patrol did not comment to KABC about the incident, but issued this statement:
"A physical altercation ensued as the pedestrian continued to resist arrest, at which point a plain clothes, off duty officer assisted in applying the handcuffs," it read.
The woman refused to give her name and was taken to a hospital for a mental and physical evaluation, according to authorities.
This isn’t the only recent accusation of abuse by the California Highway Patrol. In March 2013, a woman took to YouTube alleging that a patrolman injured her while using excessive force in a hospital.
In February, Fusion spoke with Karen North, director of University of Southern California’s Annenberg Program on Online Communities, about how video can impact such cases.
“Online video democratizes things,” she said. “It allows everyone to have an audience, if the audience is willing to watch it.”
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.