SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A San Jose police officer was charged Wednesday with punching a woman during an alleged road-rage confrontation on the side of a San Francisco Bay Area highway in the summer while he was off-duty, authorities said.
George Brown, 37, was charged with felony assault under the color of authority, misdemeanor battery, and misdemeanor child endangerment in connection to the July 24 fight on the shoulder of Interstate 680 in San Jose, the Mercury News reported.
The listed attorney for Brown did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday.
According to investigators, Brown was driving an SUV and traveling with a male friend and a child relative when he narrowly avoided a collision with the driver of another SUV near an on-ramp. That escalated to the two motorists driving aggressively near each other, and a woman riding in the other vehicle threw a plastic bottle and hit the officer's car, the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office said in a statement.
Both vehicles pulled over, and Brown blocked a lane of traffic to pull up alongside the other vehicle. Brown then reportedly called for an emergency police response. In the meantime, he and the man riding with him got out of their vehicle, and so did a man and woman who were traveling in the other SUV.
“Brown identified himself as an SJPD officer, and then without provocation the 220-pound officer punched the 5-foot-3-inch woman in the face, knocking her to the ground,” prosecutors said. “When she attempted to stand back up, Brown punched her again.”
Brown at one point allegedly called police dispatchers and asked for patrol units to respond to his location, requesting a Code 3 response — which is reserved for urgent emergencies that authorize officers to activate their lights and sirens, according to prosecutors.
Both the CHP and San Jose police were notified about the encounter after the woman who Brown reportedly punched appeared at a local hospital seeking medical treatment.
The man riding with Brown was charged with misdemeanor battery.
Brown has been on paid administrative leave since the summer after an investigation into the fight was launched and determined he faced potential criminal liability.