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LAPD officers investigated after woman is slammed to ground

August 28, 2012 |  8:19 pm

Map shows location where LAPD officers were involved in an altercation with a woman.
Two Los Angeles police officers are being investigated following an incident in which a 34-year-old woman was slammed twice to the pavement, including once while she was in handcuffs, according to law enforcement officials.

The use-of-force incident, which followed a traffic stop Aug. 21, was captured by surveillance video from a nearby business that was recovered by a Los Angeles Police Department supervisor who canvassed the area after the officers reported they had engaged in an altercation, the officials told The Times.

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

As the 5-foot 4-inch tall woman 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 the woman, 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 Division investigates. The statement did not provide details on the incident.

"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.


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