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Video of LAPD body-slamming woman disturbing, chief says

August 31, 2012 |  7:18 am

Capt. Joseph Hiltner was being reassigned following a use of force incident. The videotaped confrontation between two Los Angeles Police Department officers and a woman was disturbing and will be fully investigated, Police Chief Charlie Beck said.

“I have serious concerns about this incident," Beck said. "Every Los Angeles police officer, regardless of rank, will be held accountable for their actions."

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 Beck at a news conference Wednesday evening at LAPD headquarters.

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.

On Thursday, the LAPD revealed that least five Los Angeles police officers are under investigation in the death of a woman who stopped breathing during a struggle that included an officer stomping on her genital area and the use of additional force by others to take her into custody.


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