California highway patrol seizes records of woman beaten by officer

Associated Press reports:

California Highway Patrol investigators have seized the medical records of a woman seen on video being repeatedly punched by one of its officers on the side of a Los Angeles freeway.

Chris Arevalo, executive administrator for psychiatric services at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, confirmed that the CHP served the search warrant Tuesday for Marlene Pinnock’s records.

Pinnock’s attorney, Caree Harper, said she was notified by Arevalo on Wednesday and told the search warrant was for “property or things that are evidence that tend to show that a felony has been committed or tends to show that a particular person has committed a felony.”

Harper said the CHP took files that included statements to her doctor about how she was feeling and references to her attorney. She said she was outraged by the violation of doctor-patient privacy and attorney-client privilege. Harper has said she plans to file a federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations and will hold a news conference Thursday.

Read more on The Guardian.

If CHP needed the info to investigate the officer, why didn’t they first simply ask the patient for a release to obtain the medical records? Once the records are out of the hospital’s hands, what level of data security and privacy protection do they have? I fear they will be passed around by a number of people investigating the incident and may leak.

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