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LAPD captain reassigned after officers body slam woman

August 29, 2012 |  9:07 pm

Capt. Joseph Hiltner was being reassigned following a use of force incident.The commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Foothill Division was reassigned Wednesday, a day after video was broadcast showing two of his officers twice body slamming a 34-year-old nurse to the pavement, once while she was in handcuffs.

The move to reassign Capt. Joseph Hiltner, as well as bump him from his current Captain III rank to a lower pay grade of Captain I, was announced by Chief Charlie Beck at a news conference Wednesday evening at LAPD headquarters.

“I have serious concerns about this incident and I believe the Commanding Officer of Foothill Area was severely deficient in his response," Beck said, explaining that the captain failed to notify superiors and remove the two officers from the field. "Every Los Angeles Police Officer, regardless of rank, will be held accountable for their actions."

Hiltner, a 34-year LAPD veteran, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Beck said Internal Affairs detectives have launched a criminal and administrative investigation into the Aug. 21 use-of-force incident, which began after the officers pulled over Michelle Jordan at a Del Taco restaurant in Tujunga because she was holding a cellphone while driving.

LAPD brass didn't find out about the incident until the department was contacted by a KNBC reporter asking for comment Tuesday about the incident and black-and-white security surveillance footage that captured the officers' actions, police officials said.

As the 5-foot 4-inch Jordan left her vehicle, she allegedly failed to comply with officers' commands to get back into the car and was slammed to the ground by the male officers and placed in handcuffs, according to police officials.

While handcuffed, she was led to the officers' patrol car. Moments later, she was slammed again to the pavement, apparently with more force, by one of the officers, who was much larger than Jordan, the officials said. 

The video footage appears to show the two officers exchanging high fives after Jordan was taken down. 

The surveillance video was recovered by an LAPD supervisor from the Foothill Station who canvassed the area after the incident, law enforcement officials told The Times.

Beck said he ordered the video shown at roll calls when officers begin their shifts. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Internal Affairs detectives at (213) 485-1486 or the Foothill Division watch commander at (818) 756-8861.


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--Andrew Blankstein (twitter.com/anblanx) and Robert J. Lopez (twitter.com/LAJourno)

Photo: Capt. Joseph Hiltner. Credit: Los Angeles Police Department

Video: KTLA-TV Channel 5 report on the use of force incident