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LAPD identifies woman slammed to ground in Tujunga traffic stop

A 34-year-old woman involved in an altercation with Los Angeles police that is now under investigation was identified Tuesday night as Michelle Jordan.

The Sunland resident was pulled over Aug. 21 on a cellphone violation and was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest following an altercation with a 22-year Los Angeles Police Department veteran and a probationary officer, police said.

An email sent to Jordan's attorney Tuesday night was not returned. 

The incident was captured by surveillance video from a nearby business that was recovered by an LAPD supervisor who canvassed the area after the incident, law enforcement officials told The Times. Video footage was obtained by KNBC-TV Channel 4.

The woman was pulled over at a Del Taco restaurant on Foothill Boulevard in Tujunga because the two officers said she was holding a cellphone while driving, said the officials, who asked not to be named because the internal inquiry was in its preliminary stages.

In a report to supervisors, at least one of the officers said he took Jordan down to the ground following the traffic stop. 

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

While handcuffed, she was led to the officer's 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 LAPD disclosed the incident Tuesday evening in a statement, saying the officers had been assigned to desk duties while the department's internal affairs detectives investigated the altercation. 

"My initial review of the officers' statements and the recorded video cause me to have serious concerns about this use of force," Chief Charlie Beck said in the statement. "We will investigate this thoroughly and hold our officers accountable for their actions."

Law enforcement officials who viewed the footage described it as "very troubling" and said at least one of the officers' actions would be "difficult to explain." The officials said investigators were focusing on the second take down of the woman after she was handcuffed.

A key question, the officials said, was whether the woman's actions justified the level of force used by the officers.

The LAPD said the officers reported the incident immediately to their supervisor, as required by department policy. 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)

Video: Footage of altercation with Los Angeles Police. Credit: KNBC-TV Channel 4
 
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About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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