CHP patrolman videoed beating homeless black woman by roadside

An LA driver caught video of a California Highway Patrolman tackling a homeless black woman walking by the side of the road and then repeatedly punching her in the face.

Commentators are comparing the incident to the beating of Rodney King. The unnamed officer is reported to have said that the woman wandered into traffic and did not obey his orders, which surely justifies smashing her face in. For her own safety, you understand.

But Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a local activist and author of several books on the black image in America, takes a decidedly different view, saying this latest beating has provoked the same anger and rage from community residents as the King beating, and sparked demands for federal and state probes, and prosecution of the officer or officers.

"It's no exaggeration to say this is a Rodney King II case. The parallels are obvious," he says. "Two police officers physically assaulting a woman, the woman is African-American, and the assault is captured by a passing civilian with his camera in all its graphic, gory, and shocking detail."

Videotaped beating of woman in L.A.: Is it Rodney King all over again? (+video) [Daniel B. Wood/Christian Science Monitor]