(CBS News) The Los Angeles Police Department faces new charges of brutality, over an incident that was caught on tape last week. A police captain has lost his command post, and two officers could face criminal charges.
It’s a familiar problem for a police department with a history of rough tactics.
It started as a routine traffic stop when 34-year-old Michelle Jordan, a 5-foot-2-inch mother and registered nurse, was pulled over for driving while talking on a cell phone, which is against the law in California. Two LAPD officers stopped her in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. Its surveillance camera captured images from the traffic stop.
According to an Associated Press report, Jordan got out of the car and cursed the two officers who stopped her, witnesses and Jordan’s husband told KNBC-TV.
Arthur Corona, Jordan’s attorney, told CBS News, “At some point she was pulled out of her vehicle, thrown to the ground, handcuffed, brought back to the police cruiser, and then hip-tossed to the ground very violently, while in handcuffs.”
After being thrown to the ground twice, once while handcuffed, Jordan had cuts and bruises on her face, shoulder and upper body. Particularly outrageous to Jordan and her attorneys: after she was put in the back of the police car, the officers appeared to fist bump each other.
Sy Nazif, another of Jordan’s lawyers, said, “...as if to say, ‘Job well done today!’ They’re patting each other on the back. That, to me, was the most disturbing part of this video, of course, other than the violence itself.”
On Wednesday, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck addressed the issue head-on, saying, “I immediately removed the officers from field duties and assigned one of the officers to home. Additionally, I have directed Internal Affairs Group to initiate a criminal and an administrative investigation into this incident.”
Nazif said, “I want to see the LAPD take this as seriously as its citizenry takes it.”
Beck seems to be doing just that. He’s demoting the commander in charge of the two officers. He’s also ordered the video shown in roll call meetings as a teaching tool. Jordan’s lawyers say they will file legal action against the LAPD by the end of this week.