A California Highway Patrol officer accused of striking a woman during a traffic stop in March 2022 pleaded not guilty at a preliminary arraignment Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman for the LA County District Attorney’s Office.
Todd Cookston, 54, who’s now retired, was working as a patrol officer March 2, 2022, when he pulled over a woman “on Interstate 5 near Santa Clarita,” according to a news release from District Attorney George Gascón. “After the woman exited her vehicle, an altercation occurred, and Cookston allegedly punched her in the face.”
Cookston stands charged with a felony count of assault by a public officer. The case was filed for a warrant 11 months after the alleged assault occurred, according to a news release from Gascón’s office.
Cookston was arrested at 7:15 a.m. Feb. 25 at the San Dimas Sheriff’s Station following an investigation by CHP officers with the Baldwin Park-area office.
Sheriff’s Department records available online indicate he was released in lieu of $35,000 bail approximately two hours later.
Cookston is due back in court June 22 for a preliminary hearing. At the hearing, the DA’s office will present its evidence and a judge decides whether there is enough to justify a trial.